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Richard Lepsius 


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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887 

by William S. Gottsberger 

in the Office of the Librarian ot Congress, at Washington 



My dear Johannes ! 

To you shall this biography be dedicated. As the 
eldest pupil of our master you have in a certain sense a 
right to it. From many conversations with you, and 
from your letters since his death, I have seen with 
what cheerful alacrity you were always prepared to 
recognize the great qualities of our Lepsius ; and how 
often, behind your back, has the departed spoken 
warmly to me of your enthusiastic and self-sacrificing 
devotion to our science. 

Accept this offering, then, as a slight countervailing 
gift for the many donations which you have bestowed 
upon me and every Egyptologist. Imitating the mas- 
ter's example you have followed him to Egypt, and 
there, like him, undertaken the task of disclosing to 
your colleagues at home the wealth of unexplored in- 
scriptions in which the temples and tombs of the Nile 
valley are still so rich. From hundreds of walls you 
have copied the pictorial and hieroglyphic decorations, 
and made them accessible for investigation by collect- 
ing them in convenient volumes. A stately row of 

folios, — yonder they stand and each contains cordial 
words which assure me of your faithful remembrance, 
— bears witness to your industry, the acuteness of 
your eye and intellect, and the precision of your hand. 
But few know what great sacrifices of comfort, sleep, 
health, and your own property, lie hidden within these 
volumes, for without assistance worth mentioning, 
either from the government or its chiefs, you, relying 
upon yourself alone, have achieved great results. You 
were aided by no firmans to afford you protection, no 
powerful patron to assume the cost of publication, no 
helpful fellow-traveller, as for years you made your 
way up the Nile far into the Sudan. Month after 
month have you been a self-invited guest of the god to 
whom the sanctuary of your choice was dedicated, you 
have passed the nights on a hard couch in a chamber 
of the temple which you desired to examine, and 
shared their scanty meal with the Arabs. To me it 
will ever be incomprehensible whence you derived the 
endurance to copy, through weeks of labor, the inscrip- 
tions on the walls of the tomb of Petuamenapt, the so- 
called bat sepulchre, while those misshapen creatures 
which dread the day extinguished your lights, flapped 
about you in swarms, and entangled themselves in that 
magnificent beard which procured for you among the 
Arabs the name of Abu Dakn (Father of the Beard). 

But your endurance has borne admirable fruits. 
Through you and your works the inscriptions of the 
time of Ptolemy, formerly neglected, have for the first 
time received due honor. The keys to many mysteries 

lie concealed within them, and with what sagacity 
have you established the value of the enigmatical signs 
with which the priests during the Lagid period knew 
how to withdraw from the understanding of the multi- 
tude the mysteries to which they gave freer expression 
than their predecessors ' of earlier epochs. Golden 
Hathor of the beautiful countenance, under whose pro- 
tection you spent such long months of privation, has 
endowed you with her dearest sanctuary, that of Den- 
dera, entirely for your own, and Tehuti has aided you 
to apprehend correctly the fractional reckoning of the 
Egyptians, to determine many of their measures, and 
to make clear the division of the Egyptian land in 
ancient time. 

It is a delight to offer a gift to such a giver, and 
if mine, my dear Johannes, pleases you, I shall be 

I have allowed neither diligence nor care to be 
lacking in its preparation, but nevertheless I should riot 
have attained the goal which from the first I have had 
in view, if the family of the deceased had not com- 
mitted to my use, with such great kindness and noble 
confidence, all the materials at their disposal. Of the 
greatest service have been the diaries of Mrs. Lepsius, 
her husband's letters to her, to his parents, to Bunsen 
and many others, and the master's own memoranda in 
the form of note-books and diaries, or on scraps of 
paper and in little books of poetry, in which are also 
included the poems of Abeken, the family friend. 

The heads of the school, especially the principal. 

Professor Volkmann, as well as Professor Buchbinder, 
willingly furnished me with such information as I de- 
sired ; memoirs and collections of letters already pub- 
lished helped me to make good many deficiencies, and 
where I wished to consult the records of public author- 
ities I have everywhere met with a courtesy which 
merits thanks. I owe special acknowledgment for the 
many communications, both by letter and word of 
mouth, which I have received from the eldest son of 
the deceased, Professor R. Lepsius of Darmstadt. 

As is natural, the principle materials have been 
drawn from the works of the master, and my own 
vivid memories of his character. 

The index to his writings will, I think, be welcome 
to you and to many colleagues. To bring it to the 
perfection which he had desired was a task attended 
with many difficulties. 

You must yourself judge whether the old adage " a 
pupil's praise is lame," is applicable to this biography. 
I am conscious of having handled my brush with love 
indeed, but also with all fidelity. On account of the 
great abundance of material there was far less need of 
original research than of sifting and selecting, and this 
had to be done with special pains and prudence in re- 
gard to the tw r enty-seven volumes of Mrs. Lepsius' in- 
teresting diary. 

I hope that you, the master's eldest pupil, will miss, 
in this likeness painted by the hand of friendship, no 
essential trait of the dead who was dear to us both, 
and that you will find that the artist has introduced 

into it no more of his own personality than may be 
permitted to an historian. He tenders you this book 
with affection, and knows that you will receive it in the 
same spirit from 

Your very faithful, 

Georg Ebers» 
Leipsic, Easter, 1885. 



Preface, __.-_._-- i 

Boyhood and Apprenticeship, - 3 

The School, __-_.__ = 5 

Leipsic, -- - 9 


Berlin, - - -'- 40 

The Journeyman, Paris, ------ 51 

Egyptological Studies, as Lepsius found them in 

1834, 69 

Lepsius in Paris as an Egyptologist; - - 79 

Italy, 93 

Holland, England, and the Season «je Waiting, in 

Germany, - - - 123 

The Prussian Expedition ro Egypt, under the di- 
rection of Lepsius, ------ 140 

The Master Workman, ------ 167 

The Home of Lepsius, -.--.. 218 

Richard Lepsius as a Man, ----- 282 

Appendix: I. The Göttingen Insurrection, - - 301 
" II. Lepsius' Report to the Berlin Royal 
Academy of Sciences on the com- 
mencement of his Egyptological 

Studies, 308 

" III. Extract from the Report addressed 
to the Ministry, on the Acquisi- 
tions and Results of the Expedi- 
tion to Egypt under R. Lepsius, 314 
Index to the works of R. Lepsius, - - - 325 


the head master of Egyptology, closed his eyes dur- 
ing the past summer, and his departure has been deeply 
lamented, not only in our own country, but among 
scholars of all lands. The task of portraying his life 
has fallen to me, and this task I have willingly assumed, 
for I am — with the exception of my dear and excel- 
lent friend and colleague, Diimichen of Strasburg — the 
oldest of his pupils. Till his latter end an intimate 
untroubled friendship united me to the beloved master, 
the benevolent promoter of my studies, the colleague, 
the man who followed with sympathy my poetical as 
well as my scientific productions. His family have 
assisted me in the kindest manner by placing at my 
disposal everything left by the deceased which could 
possibly aid my purpose. Diaries, memorandum books, 
letters of great interest, were submitted to my inspec- 
tion, and these abundant materials confirmed my con- 
viction that the personality of a German scholar has 
seldom presented so rounded and happily balanced a 
whole as that of the man whose life it has devolved 
upon me to describe. In him are united all things 
which can be required of a scholar in the highest sense 
of the word, and hence his biographer, while depicting 
the development, the individuality, and the vast activity 


of the man, can at the same time present to his nation 
such a model, such a beautiful type, of the German 
master of science, as is worthy of imitation. 

In that great community which we call " the culti- 
vated world," and which has its home in every civilized 
land, the name of Richard Lepsius stands among 
those which are well known. Everyone within this circle 
knows, too, that he was a great Egyptologist. As one 
holds the diamonds in a king's crown for genuine, even 
if he sees them only from afar, so one believes in the value 
and importance of the works of the celebrated scholar, 
although one may not even so much as know their 
titles, and although it is scarcely granted to one amongst 
ten thousand to comprehend them, or even to study 
them deeply. 

The brief obituaries and biographical sketches pub- 
lished in the papers and periodicals shortly after the 
death of the great master, could give but a general idea 
of his labors, and yet these extended over many impor- 
tant domains of science, and his strong and firm hand 
laid the foundations upon which a long and varied 
series of future researches can and must be based. 

It will be ours to show, in a way accessible and 
intelligible to every educated person, of what nature 
were the scientific achievements to which Lepsius owed 
his high and well-deserved honor and renown, and 
what a man the nation lost in him. 

Georg Ebers. 


Richard Charles Lepsius was born on the 23d of 
December, 18 10, at Naumburg on the Saal, a pretty 
town which rises pleasantly from the grape-grown foot- 
hills of the Thuringian forest. Here he passed his 
childhood among circumstances than which none more 
favorable could have been imagined for the future 
scholar and antiquarian. 

His father, afterwards President of the provincial 
c'ourt of justice and Privy Counsellor, was at that time 
Saxon Finance Procurator for the whole Thuringian 
district, and as such one of the leading men of the 
place and region. Naumburg is rich in fine buildings 
of the middle ages, and Charles Peter Lepsius. the 
father of young Richard, applied such leisure as his 
exacting occupations afforded him to searching out the 
history of these venerable monuments. It was he who 
founded the Thuringian-Saxon Archaeological Society, 
the seat of which was subsequently removed to Halle, 
and the three volumes of his short papers testify to his 
zeal and ability as an investigator. He is represented 
as a strict and methodical official, of distinguished bear- 
ing, as well as an indefatigable worker ; and precisely 
these qualities fell as a paternal inheritance to his son, 
and afterwards constituted the conditions of his great- 


Among those remarkable men who have compassed" 
high aims by means of marked qualities of tempera- 
ment or of the imaginative faculty, the maternal influ- 
ence has usually predominated, while in those cases 
where strength and acuteness of intellect have made a 
man great, the paternal character has commonly had 
most weight. A poet like Goethe, a man of faith like 
Augustine, a Napoleon Bonaparte, whose imagination 
transgressed all limits, owed what was best in them to 
their mothers; the mind of a Lepsius, severe, never 
seeking after uncertainties, but always inclined to pro- 
found research, must be an inheritance from the 

Throughout Thuringia and Saxony all who were 
interested in antiquities were connected with the archae- 
ologists and founders of the society at Naumburg, the 
air of the house in which the boy grew up was per- 
meated with historical and antiquarian interests, and its 
master early permitted his son to take part in those oc- 
cupations which he himself could only pursue as an 
amateur, and yet to which his tastes so entirely inclined. 
Thus it is easy to understand how the Minister of 
Finance, as soon as he recognized the scientific bent of 
his son, did everything to further it and to make of his 
child what he himself, under more favorable circum- 
stances, might have become : a great investigator to 
whom science should be all and everything, the end 
and aim of existence, in short, the vocation of life. 


Circumstances facilitated the attainment of this pur- 
pose, for in the immediate vicinity of Naumburg was 
situated an excellent educational 'institution which, at 
the time when young Lepsius was received among its 
pupils, had already long attained that flourishing con- 
dition in which it still rejoices. 

Private teachers had given him his first instruction 
under the direction of his father, and at Easter, 1823, 
he was already, as a boy of twelve, qualified for admis- 
sion to the school, which begins with the third class of 
the Prussian gymnasiums. At that time Ilgen was 
principal of the school, but Professor Lange, his tutor, 
seems to have exerted a stronger influence than he over 
the pupils. The latter became principal after the 
departure of Lepsius in 1831, but unfortunately died a 
few months after assuming office. He is the only one 
of all his teachers whom Lepsius especially mentions 
in the biography attached to his " dissertation " and it 
is true that this man exercised a marked influence over 
his gifted pupil by his moral fervor, his great learning 
and spirited interpretations of the old classic writers. 

Professor Koberstein had come to the school three 
years before Lepsius, and had introduced new life into 
the teaching of German. He understood how to 
interest the pupils in ancient and mediaeval high Ger- 
man, and after the fashion of Tieck he read German 


and Shakespearian dramas at his own house in the 
evenings to a select circle. How greatly Lepsius was 
affected by the instruction of this able pedagogue and 
scholar may be seen from the so-called valedictory 
theme which he was obliged to compose and hand in 
before his departure, according to the custom in the 
school at that time. This painstaking essay, unusually 
mature for a lad of eighteen, handles the following sub- 
ject, selected by himself: "On the Influence w T hich 
must be Exerted on the Tendency of Philology in 
General, and Especially of Classic Philology, by the 
Most Recent Methods of Treating German Grammar, 
and the Universal Comparison of Languages Arising 
from this and the Wider Knowledge of Sanscrit." It 
appears from the little sketch of his life appended to this 
essay that Koberstein had also given Lepsius special in- 
struction in ancient German and Italian. " The time 
which I spent with you w r ill ever appear to me the 
bright spot of my life here," writes the pupil, on his de- 
parture from the excellent institution which he long- 
remembered with affection and gratitude. 

And he had reason to be grateful to Koberstein, for 
in the valedictory theme mentioned above and com- 
posed under his auspices we see indicated, as it were, 
the path which, after much groping and many essays, 
the studies of Lepsius were finally to follow. 

With him, as with so many others, a vigorous indi- 
viduality had, even in his school-days, exerted a de- 
cisive influence upon his subsequent intellectual ten- 
dencies. The elder Lepsius, the antiquarian, and 


Koberstein the accomplished linguist, indicated to their 
son and pupil from afar the goal for which he after- 
wards strove, it was reserved for others to be the guides 
who should determine and direct him thither. 

At Easter, 1829, Lepsius, then seventeen years old, 
passed the final examination with the general certificate 
L, and left the school with a body invigorated by the 
merry games of boyhood on the gymnastic-ground and 
skating-pond and in the swimming-school, with a mind 
well prepared for every study, and a thorough mastery 
of the old classical languages. 

How dear the school had been to him is shown by 
the following verses, taken from the farewell poem 
which he dedicated to it : 

" A thousand times I've wandered 
High on the mount above. 
And gazed with quiet rapture 
On the valley that I love. 

" Beyond, the silver river! 
And above, the shining skies ! 
While, beneath the mountain's shadow, 
What a happy dwelling lies ! 

" The gray walls seem to beckon, 
They summon me to go. 
And join the throng that gathers 
In the garden there below. 

* l There many a youthful figure 
Weaves the merry game. I wis, 
Hut whence, ah whence, arises 
In my heart, this pensive bliss ?" 


His father who, as president of the provincial 
court and commissioner for the examinations previous 
to matriculation, was a person of influence with the 
directors of the school, had desired that in the final 
scrutiny the performances of his son should be no more 
indulgently judged than those of every other alumnus. 
After Richard had been honored with the I., I Igen 
wrote to his father in the following reassuring manner, 
having first announced the results of the examination : 
" You must on no account imagine that you are under 
obligations to any one. I assure you for my part that 
I would have done as I have, even if you were my worst 
enemy, and that I have only acted according to my 
conscience, as you may hear from Neue and 

It need not be said that young Lepsius was among 
the most prominent pupils of the institution. On the 
king's birthday, on the third of August, 1826, the task 
of composing and delivering a poem in honor of the 
festival was imposed upon him. He chose for his sub- 
ject "Albert of Babenberge," and handled it, skilfully 
enough, in the Nibelungen stanza. 

He derived great pleasure, in after days, from poeti- 
cal composition, and although he ardently devoted him- 
self to science from the very first, yet among the poems 
lying before us many a gay song bears witness to the 
vivacity of his youthful spirit 


The elder Lepsius kept most of the letters which his 
son wrote him from Leipsic, where he began his studies. 
They show how earnestly he took hold of the matter 
from the start, and how attentively the president of the 
court at Naumburg watched not only the practical 
daily life, but also the scientific activity of his son. The 
methodical official wished to be informed as to the ex- 
penditure of every groschen which he allowed his 
son, and the accounts accompanying the student's 
letters show us how cheaply it was possible to 
live in Leipsic some fifty years ago. A good din- 
ner, with soup, roast, and salad or compote, cost 
three groschen, Richard thought the morning coffee 
too dear at a groschen, the beer at dinner for fourteen 
days came to seven groschen, a room at the inn for 
one night was three groschen, a pat (half-pound) of 
butter was two groschen, three pfennigs. However, 
the hard-working student seems to have been absolved 
from this exact rendering of accounts in the third term, 
but it had been of great advantage to him, for it would 
have been impossible for him to bring the greatest of 
his subsequent works to such a successful issue, or in- 
deed to produce them at all, without the strict sense of 
order which he had acquired both by inheritance and 
training. For example, after his return from Egypt he 
was able without the slightest error to join and fit into 


their proper places the thousands of sheets of paper 
with which he had taken impressions of the inscriptions. 
This shows a painstaking exactness in the marking and 
numbering of each leaf such as had been practised by 
no previous traveller, not even by Champollion and 
Rosellini, in whose works errors are by no means rare. 
From the first, it was clear to him that he wished 
to study philology, but he hesitated for some time as to 
what course he should pursue aftenvards. He had 
presented himself at the proper time, but in those days 
the professors took things easily. Godfrey Hermann, 
of whom he had the highest expectations, only began 
to lecture after Whitsuntide, " most of the others, such 
as Beck, Rost, Nobbe, Weiske, only at the beginning 
of June." The first course of lectures which he at- 
tended was Wachsmuth's " Universal History." " I 
was much pleased," he writes to his father, " with his 
introduction, in which he expressed his views on the 
exposition of the general conception, on the division 
and proper treatment of history. He has besides an 
agreeable fluent delivery, and a very pleasant voice. 
Yet his public lectures on Roman History, which fol- 
lowed immediately, were almost more interesting to 
me. Here his discourse is perfectly unfettered, be- 
cause he has already laid his foundations in the pre- 
ceding lectures on Universal History. Roman History 
is a department to which he has given special atten- 
tion, and in the treatment of which he repeatedly 
differs from those views of Niebuhr's which have intro- 
duced a new epoch. On this account it is very inter- 

esting to hear him criticise Niebuhr, of whom, however, 
he speaks with the greatest respect." 

The philosopher Krug he had imagined as quite a 
different person and much younger. He writes to his 
father of him : " He has the face of an old philosopher, 
and it is so beset with solemn wrinkles that at first I 
could not reconcile it with the biting satirical wit 
which one finds in his writings. His eyes, however, 
are very brilliant, and they wander perpetually over 
the ceiling as if he were unaware of the presence of 
auditors, during the quiet almost monotonous, but 
pointed discourse, in which he never blunders or hesi- 
tates for a syllable." 

From what might be called the more fortuitous 
selection of the other courses of lectures which he 
attended, it is apparent with how little consciousness 
of his ultimate goal he began his studies, and he makes 
his father the confidant of his indecision. The inter- 
esting letter of the seventh of August, 1829, which we 
give herewith, shows the young aspirant for the right 
path in the best light, and proves that he had just dis- 
cerned in the great philologist, Godfrey Hermann, the 
man in Leipsic from whom he had most to gain. 

Before the end of his first term he writes to his 
father in this letter : 

" It will naturally be far more difficult for me to 
give you a satisfactory explanation of my position re- 
garding science, than regarding practical affairs, since 
I will not even boast of having come to fixed views on 


the subject myself. Indeed I consider it a main point 
during the first part of my stay at the University, and 
one by no means easily or quickly settled, to come to 
an understanding with myself about this, and to take a 
steady survey of my whole course in life, but particu- 
larly of my studies. For I feel more and more this 
important distinction between the school and the uni- 
versity, that here one is suddenly deprived of all guid- 
ance and special instruction as to the direction which 
one should pursue. The many beginnings made at 
school, without any definite aim in view, must be either 
continued or abandoned, either pursued more zealously 
or regarded as a side issue, according to one's own 
choice and judgment. On this account, too, I do not 
reproach myself that as yet I have no unalterable plan 
nor perfect system in my studies, since scarcely anyone 
could have made such a decision so quickly, or, were 
such a hastily formed scheme adopted, it might lead 
to a one-sided development which should be most 
foreign to philology especially. Altogether, there is no 
science in which this question can be more important 
and at the same time more difficult, than in ours, since 
we have no positive series of lectures to observe, like 
the lawyers, doctors, and theologians, but each must 
choose and trace out his own road over the boundless 
field of philology, according to his own powers and in- 
dividual character. Now, so far as my purely scientific 
education is concerned, from the very beginning two 
main paths present themselves, between which most stu- 
dents make a voluntary or involuntary choice ; namely, 


philology proper and archaeology. Naturally, they are 
so closely connected that one can never be entirely di- 
vorced from the other, but nevertheless every one de- 
votes himself more to one than the other. Indeed 
either of the two departments alone is sufficiently exten- 
sive to demand all the powers of one person. This 
distinction between, and this independence of, the two 
branches have been most fully illustrated in our two 
greatest philologists, Hermann and Böckh, each of 
whom has formed his own school, entirely distinct from 
the other. I would think it rash and foolish at present 
to wish to decide in favor of either, since I know too 
little of either to make such a decision from my own con- 
viction and independent judgment. In any case it is 
well for me at first, as far as possible, to attach myself to 
the school of Hermann, and apply myself entirely to 
languages, for an accurate knowledge of languages is 
an indispensable foundation in every other branch, and 
certainly there can nowhere be found a more accom- 
plished teacher than Hermann, even if there actually are 
more learned men, which I will not dispute. I learn 
daily to admire more his incomparable clearness and 
acuteness in the exercise of the soundest criticism. I lis- 
ten attentively and with pleasure to his lectures, and per- 
haps in time will try to become a member of his Greek 
club, which has already trained eminent philologists 
and given the first impulse to many learned works .... 
"Some time ago Graser* was in Leipsic, only in 

* F. \Y. Graser, born at Luckau, 1801, studied in Leipsic, 1819- 
23. 1823 Head Master at the Royal Grammar School at Halle, 1827 
Sub-Principal in Naumburg, 1831 Deputy Principal and 1846 Princi- 


passing through, but he let himself be persuaded to re- 
main here several days in order to have the pleasure of 
seeing Hermann. He went to Hermann's lectures 
regularly, and was quite enthusiastic about him. At 
six o'clock he went as a guest to the Greek club, of 
which he had previously been an honored member. I 
too went as a guest. There was a discussion concerning 
a paper on several passages from Plato De legibus, and 
it was not long before Gräser broke in, with a prodi- 
gious flood of compliments by way of preface, but with 
much learning and great acuteness, and gave his opinion 
on several of the passages. Hermann received it very 
well. Then they fell to making panegyrics upon each 
other, and Graser was so inspired by Hermann's re- 
joinders that time after time he exclaimed, with every 
gesture of admiration : Admiror, admiror ingenii tui 
acumen ftraestantissimum, vir illustris, vefierande, and 
so on, so that the members were all in a great state of 
amazement over it. But he spoke good, fluent Latin, 
and what he said was very scholarly and clever. Fi- 
nally, Hermann made another little eulogium upon him. 
These two hours gave me far more pleasure than if I 
had spent an evening at the theatre, for it is not every 
day that one can see such enthusiasm as was expressed 

pal at Guben, 1854 Principal at Torgau, 1863 Deputy Principal at the 
Abbey of Our Blessed Lady in Magdeburg, until 1869. Now lives as 
a private gentleman in Potsdam. In the Renunciation programme 
of thirty-seven doctors of philosophy on the 4th of March, 1824, (De 
epitritris Doriis dissertatio). G. Hermann says of him : A Beckio in 
Seminarium Regium, a me in Societatem Graecam receptus, utrigue 
nostrum et propter studiorum diligentiam, et propter praeclarum in- 
genium insignemque morum humanitatem et suavitatem valde pro- 
batus est. 


here for Hermann ; it was so genuine, and yet in its 
whole essence so intelligent and clear." 

This letter, certainly unusually mature and thought- 
ful for a lad of eighteen, is followed by many others, 
from which we may see how judiciously Lepsius knew 
how to divide his time, with what diligence he not only 
attended lectures, but also twice a day read Greek and 
Roman classics with his friend Schweckendieck for 
hours, and still found time to practise music, play chess 
and visit socially, a welcome guest, among families of 
good standing in Leipsic. Shortly before the outbreak 
of the revolution of July, there was a significant fermen- 
tation among the German students. After the momen- 
tous Carlsbad Decrees, and in consequence of the 
" Executive Order " carried through by Metternich, the 
University was placed under political supervision " for 
the security of public order." Thus it became not only 
dangerous to take an active share in the movement for 
liberty, but even to have any close intercourse with a 
fellow-student who was suspected of having taken part 
in " seditious intrigues," and what were not so styled by 
the wretched oppressors of political liberty during the 
supremacy of Metternich 's influence ? 

How anxious must the Naumburg Landrath have 
felt when he learned that an older fellow-student of his 
son's, of whom the latter wrote to him with great 
warmth, was involved in demagogic alliances in his na- 
tive city of Brunswick, at that time a centre of the 
political dissatisfaction which was soon to lead to the 


expulsion of Duke Charles. This singularly talent- 
ed man, named Silberschmidt, was ten years older than 
young Richard, and had interested him greatly. He 
had an eventful life behind him, and was so thoroughly 
at home in the most diverse departments of science, that 
Lepsius described him to his father as a " universal 
genius." In his nine-and-twentieth year he began to 
study law, had essayed all possible branches of litera- 
ture, had been page to the King of Westphalia in Cas- 
sel, huntsman and fencing-master, said he had studied 
in Giessen, written a dissertation " On the Immortality 
of the Soul," a book on the art of fencing, many 
dramas, reviews, etc., and called himself also the au- 
thor of a work on chess. Lepsius who, even as a student, 
was already an able chess-player, recognized in his fel- 
low-lodger one of the greatest masters of this noble 
game, and when he visited Silberschmidt in his apart- 
ment the latter showed him a very remarkable testi- 
monial. It contained a certificate from the parish of 
Ströbeck, in Halberstadt, that it had been beaten at 
chess by Silberschmidt. This was subscribed by the 
local town magistrate, and stamped with the seal 
of the parish. The parish in question enjoyed a wide 
celebrity on account of its chess playing, in which 
every peasant was a master, and in which even the boys 
had to pass an examination. Old electoral foundations 
had endowed the people of Ströbeck with great privi- 
leges and possessions on account of their skill in ,this 
game. They had never been beaten until Silberschmidt 
had appeared to conquer them. A Jew from Bruns- 


wick had also told Richard's landlord that his re- 
markable new friend was the most famous of all living 
chess-players. As he also proved to be " pleasant, and 
anything but conceited," and showed himself " an in- 
dustrious man of excellent moral principles, and at the 
same time always cheerful and interesting in his con- 
versation," Richard supposed he could derive nothing 
but benefit from intercourse with him. All that he 
writes to his father of the Brunswicker proves the bril- 
liant talents of the latter, but also shows that he tried 
to win his younger fellow-student by boasting. Silber- 
schmidt had spoken to Lepsius about his demagogic asso- 
ciations, and as soon as the father had warned his son 
against this dangerous man, Richard knew how to with- 
draw from the connection with tact and address. 
Here, as in every similar case, the youth, scarcely past 
his boyhood, shows himself entirely submissive to the 
superior wisdom of his father, and at the same time he 
already evinces the discretion which he afterwards ex- 
hibited in every position in which he was placed during 
a long life in the midst of the world, where there could 
not fail to be conflicts and collisions of every kind. 

At the end of the second term at Leipsic he debated 
with his father whether he should not exchange the 
Leipsic University for another, and in this consultation 
also we see him weigh the pros and cons with a clear 
head and great circumspection. To Leipsic he was at- 
tached by many a good comrade and many a pleasant 
family, from whom he had received kindness, and be- 
neath whose roof he had suns? and danced and been 


treated like a son of the house. Of the academic in- 
structors, Hermann alone detained him on the Pleisse, 
and as the latter intended to travel during the coming 
summer term, he decided on a change of University. 
At first his father had some objection, we can no longer 
fathom what, to Göttingen, whither Richard most de- 
sired to go. He therefore weighed Berlin, to which he 
was particularly attracted by Böeckh, Lachmann, C. 
Ritter and Bopp, against Bonn, where he had the high- 
est expectations of Welcker and Niebuhr. In his last 
letter from Leipsic the son decides for the Rhenish 
University, but during the vacation, which brought him 
and his father once more together, he seems to have 
succeeded in inducing the latter to accede to his desire 
to enter the Georgia Augusta, and so we see him, in the 
spring of 1830, proceed to Göttingen by way of Eisen- 
ach and Cassel, where he saw Spohr conduct a per- 
formance of " The White Lady." 


On the eight of May Lepsius arrived in Göttingen, 
and found good lodgings with the tailor, Volkmann, 
129 Kurze Street. For fellow-lodger he had again his 
friend Schweckendieck of Leipsic, with whom he con- 
tinued to work and to read Greek and Latin classics. 
He took with him excellent letters of introduction to 
those professors of whom he expected most, Otfried 
Müller, Dissen, and the Grimms, and was thus received 


by them in the kindest manner. During the first term 
he attended the lectures of Dissen, on Universal Sci- 
ence ; of Müller, on Archaeology and Thucydides ; of 
J. Grimm, on Ancient Law, and of Beneke, on the 
Poems of Walter von der Vogelweide. 

All that he writes to his father concerning the more 
illustrious of his teachers, is interesting enough. It 
shows us how here in Göttingen, and especially through 
listening to and associating with Otfried Müller, Dissen, 
and the Grimms, science was revealed to him in a 
new and clearer light. We observe, too, how his mind 
became accustomed to take cognizance of a subject as a 
whole, and to its fullest extent, and yet preserve due re- 
gard to details; how he acquired his esthetic ideals, 
and how he laid the foundation for those works which 
were afterwards to make him famous, not only in phil- 
ology, but also in history, the history of art, and myth- 

His first visit was paid to the excellent scholar and 
sufferer, G. L. Dissen, the illustrious editor of Pindar, 
Tibullus and Demosthenes. 

" I can give you briefly," he tells his father, " what 
I noted down of Dissen's views on my return from him. 
' Above all else,' he said, ' the time has come to elevate 
hermenejitics, the advanced science of exegesis, for the 
old poets as well as prose writers, to a higher standard. 
Up to this time scholars have usually been content to 
expound the words in their grammatical connection, 
and according to their significance in the dictionary or 
by the rules of syntax. They have sought to discover 


the meaning of detached passages, or perhaps the nexus 
sententiarum. But they have neither recognized nor ex- 
pressed in a sufficient manner the inestimable superior- 
ity of the Greek language especially, in the per- 
fect correspondence between thought and form, — in 
the possibility of easily reproducing the least modula- 
tion of thought by an appropriate adaptation of the ex- 
pression. Nor have they known how to detect the 
deep technical design, the economy of words, of poems, 
of choral songs, which can be shown everywhere, and 
which is executed with admirable poetical perfec- 
tion, as well as with severe logical art. Yet the superi- 
ority of the ancients consists precisely in this, that in 
their works they develop in admirable harmony these 
two powers, lofty poetic inspiration in the conception,, 
and clear, penetrating judgment in the execution. It is 
just this that separates them from the poesy of to-day, 
in which one side is almost always cultivated at the ex- 
pense of the other. Classic poetry and the whole of 
classic literature is not yet, by any means, valued as it 
should be, and it is now incumbent upon hermenefttics 
to instruct us therein, and to exhibit in detail all the 
treasures of classical literature to their profoundest 
depths. Such commentaries as are at present written 
upon the ancients usually contain explanations of iso- 
lated words, and matters which often have but a very 
slight connection with the text. They consist for the 
most part of general remarks on grammar, and are 
compiled from collectanea. Such dull and lifeless 
handiwork should at least be abandoned to those who 


can attain no higher standpoint of science; but the 
higher hermenemtics must proceed from the basis of 
grammatical knowledge, which is requisite in every 
case, to point out in their works the genius and art of 
the ancients. A correct understanding of the separate 
parts can only be attained by steadily keeping in view 
the essential order, the fundamental idea, and it can 
be proved repeatedly with regard to Hermann that he 
has neglected this in his writings and commentaries, or 
he would have perceived that often, in a chorus, the 
notes to strophe and anti-strophe contradict each other. 
Pindar especially must be treated in this way." Lepsi- 
us then describes the law which Dissen thinks he has 
found to be observed, in an analogous manner, through 
all the poems of Pindar. 

" I was also received very cordially," writes Rich- 
ard to his father, " by O. Müller. He is just such a 
man as I had expected, and that is saying a great deal ; 
his whole external appearance, even, corresponded 
amazingly to the idea which I had formed of him. 
This morning he depicted himself most aptly in de- 
scribing the Greek character. He is at the same time 
earnest and vivacious, enthusiastic and calm, imagina- 
tive and lucid. This is, of course, most applicable to 
the manner in which he expresses himself in his lec- 
tures, yet his whole character is so transparently manifest- 
ed in them, especially in the first lectures on the archae- 
ology of art, that it is safe to draw conclusions thence 
as to all other relations. He has besides an almost 
ideally fine figure, an expressive countenance which ex- 


hibits real humanity, and a distinct, sonorous voice. 
His lectures are almost entirely extemporaneous, as far 
as the subject permits, enthusiastic, yet calm too, clear 
and convincing." 

Jacob Grimm he calls a " very kind-hearted, unaf- 
fected man. This is apparent in everything. He is 
also prodigiously learned in every possible direction, 
but yet, it seems, very easily embarrassed in expressing 
himself, perhaps because he does not yet feel at home 
among the affectations of Göttingen life." Later he 
learned to esteem the brothers. Grimm more and more 
highly, and met with the most cordial reception in their 
house. " Eight days ago," he writes to his father, " I 
dined with the Grimms, and I cannot praise the family 
enough to you. The whole family are simplicity and 
affection personified, and it is especially funny to see 
these two men forget all their immense learning, and 
play with their little Hermann, until the mother really 
becomes quite troubled lest he should be spoiled. 
William, the husband, is still more agreeable and easy 
in conversation," (than Jacob). 

In Otfried Miiller's Seminary, to which he, as well as 
his friends Schweckendieck and Gravenhorst, was ad- 
mitted, he reaped an abundant intellectual harvest, and 
the Göttingen Philological Society, into which he had 
been received as a member, was also of great benefit to 
him. This consisted of seven or eight of the best young 
philologists, elected by vote, who met once every week 
(on Tuesdays, at half past seven o'clock). They be- 
gan by discussing some critical paper presented by a 


2 3 

member, often in the presence of O. Müller. This was 
submitted for inspection to each member, who was free 
to make remarks upon it, and defend his own views. 
The business of the society was then transacted, and 
finally they all sat sociably together, engaged in pleas- 
ant and serious conversation, and cosily enjoyed their 
beer and tobacco, both of which the society was bound 
to furnish. Lepsius informs his father that he, who 
always before expected to play the persona muta, to his 
astonishment here became a homo rfisputax, which he 
did not indeed, in its full sense, exactly desire, but 
which still appeared to him a much more interesting 
role than that of the persona muta. 

Upon the whole, Müller, in Göttingen, exerted the 
deepest and most lasting influence over him. Thus 
while, in Leipsic, he had still hesitated whether he 
should devote himself to the grammatical or the arch- 
aeological division of philology, he here decided in 
favor of the latter, although without entirely losing 
sight of the former. Xo other scholar of that time had 
such a lofty and far-reaching apprehension of archaeol- 
ogy as Otfried Müller, and hence we see Lepsius allow 
himself to be locked in daily for hours, in order to trace 
on transparent paper the copper-plates from all the 
works which had at that time appeared on the archi- 
tecture and plastic art of the ancients. He wished to 
make their forms his own, and to retain them in his 
possession, even if in the unsatisfactory shape of copies. 
The architectural pictures thus traced he afterwards 
copied at home. 


All that Müller had to offer the students, whether in 
the lecture-room, in the seminary, or by personal inter- 
course, was received by Lepsius with enthusiasm, and 
at the close of the term, he wrote to his father : " To- 
morrow Müller will finish the historical portion of his 
archaeology, and thus once more lies fully extended be- 
fore my vision a new branch of science, which, if any 
so deserves, should be called the very flower of science. 
It is fostered, too, with such unusual care as none 
other receives, and rejoices in such noble foundations 
as the Institute for Archaeological Correspondence, 
which, for two years, has been under the patronage of 
our Crown Prince (afterwards Frederick William IV.). 
The Central Board of Directors are in Rome, and 
thence it extends over the whole of northern Europe, 
with the co-operation of almost all eminent scholars 
and experts. Its results in the various departments of 
science are recorded in several languages, and within a 
few weeks are spread abroad from Syracuse to Belt, 
from Paris to Petersburg. So that any one should in- 
deed be accounted fortunate who is in a position to 
obtain even a superficial comprehension of the whole 
of this immeasurable field, whose boundaries cannot 
even be discerned, if we have regard only to the 
material yet to be obtained. For even such compre- 
hension will furnish the means for a more thorough 
understanding and farther progress." 

To secure these very means, he continued to work 
hard under O. Müller's direction. Yet he could not, at 
that time, foresee that he himself was destined, first to 


enter into close connection with that Archaeological In- 
stitute at Rome of which he writes to his father, and 
finally to be chosen one of its directors. 

In Göttingen also he was a welcome guest in some 
of the best professors' families, and his refined and re- 
ticent nature led him, as he wrote to his father, to pre- 
fer social intercourse in pleasant families, and profitable 
communion with one or two friends, even to the assem- 
blies of the Philological Society, where he took little 
pleasure in the rough comradeship and the enforced in- 
timacy with many a young fellow with whom he had 
really little in common. 

Whenever a superior artistic performance was pro- 
duced, he know how to profit by it here, as he had 
done before during his stay in Berlin. When Paganini 
came to Göttingen, he and Schweckendieck took a seat 
together (it cost a thaler and a half), and he went to 
the second half of the concert after his friend had en- 
joyed the first. " It would be useless," he writes, " to 
try to describe in any way Paganini's playing. One can 
only comprehend the nature and method of such play- 
ing while he is actually playing ; afterwards one loses 
sight of nearly every measuring scale that could 
be applied to it, in order to retain it in the imagi- 

His interest in politics had also been excited by the 
revolution of July, and in order to follow political 
events and changes, he subscribed, at that time, to the 
Hamburg Correspondent. He prudently keeps out of 
the way of the Brunswicker Silberschmidt, who was in- 


volved in " seditious intrigues," when he meets him 
again in Göttingen, and mentions that by his fellow- 
students, who almost universally called themselves 
" Republicans," he was accounted a Conservative and 
aristocrat, on account of his well-known monarchial 

During a pedestrian tour in the long vacation of 
1830, which took him into the Hartz, to Hanover, etc., 
he was to become witness of an historical incident, and 
soon afterwards, at Göttingen, to be an onlooker at a 

Unfortunately, the limits of this biography forbid 
our giving in full the letters addressed to his father by 
the active young wanderer through the Hartz, so sus- 
ceptible to all that was beautiful or remarkable. We can 
only mention here his experiences in and around Bruns- 
wick. He had been invited thither by Gravenhorst, 
his fellow-student at Göttingen, whose parents were to 
be his hosts. His travelling-companions separated 
from him at Blankenburg, and he had still nine post- 
miles to travel alone. "As I walked on the 'Faust' 
which I had brought with me luckily occurred to me, 
and for the rest of the way I occupied myself with 
learning some of the scenes by heart, which shortened 
the road wonderfully. Meanwhile the Brocken was 
brewing behind me, soon the whole range was envel- 
oped in thick mist, and thick rain clouds gathered, 
which were driven towards me by a violent wind. It 
was indeed a splendid sight as the storm came on, but 
it inspired me with no very pleasant anticipations of the 


time when it should reach me, and now I regularly be- 
gan to run a race with the rain, which came more from 
one side; twice it actually caught me, another time I 
could only escape it by hard running. So it happened 
that I got over four post-miles in four hours without 
once stopping, and I should soon have finished the fifth 
when a postilion called to me to ask whether I would 
not like to ride back with him to Brunswick in an 
hour." The young traveller accepted the offer, and sat 
down in the inn to wait for the conveyance. " While 
I," he writes, " sat with a glass of beer at the big oaken 
table, knapsack and stick beside me, reading this poem 
of all poems (Faust), this poem which unites the heights 
and depths of human life, conceived and represented by 
such a genius, one by one there assembled at this and 
a neighboring table some wagoners, a tipsy shopkeeper, 
and some mechanics, who entertained themselves after 
their own fashion, talked politics, railed, and so formed 
an incomparable foreground to some of the scenes in 
Faust. The events at Brunswick particularly were 
represented and criticized in the most glaring and origi- 
nal colors ; in short, my Faust played upon a stage such 
as could scarcely be found again." 

After this prelude, he was himself to take part, at 
Brunswick, in the conclusion of the tragic-comic rev- 
olutionary drama which occurred there. The father of 
his friend, Gravenhorst, was chief of police, and in the 
hospitable house of this man, who had been concerned 
as an active participant in all the phases of the expul- 
sion and reinstatement of the Duke, Lepsius had a good 


opportunity to obtain an authentic account of all that 
had happened. 

" Naturally," writes the young traveller, " the con- 
versation fell chiefly on present events, which, however, 
interested me none the less, because I had long been 
well acquainted with them, and was now here on the 
very spot, besides being in the house of the chief of po- 
lice, where we received each of the fresh reports, which 
crowded in every hour, at first hand and in the most 
trustworthy manner. No excess had occurred beyond 
the burning of the castle (at the expulsion of the Duke 
Charles in 1830), .... but all the lamps had been 
smashed and several of the windows. I will copy for 
you some of the lampoons, of which Gravenhorst has 
fifty or sixty, as they all have to be handed in here. 
You may see from them the universal feeling against 
< Charley,' as he is called, the former Duke. The rage 
against him was,- and still is, indescribable, but it is com- 
pletely justified against such a scum of all humanity. 
Fortunately (and a sign, too, that the burning of the 
castle did not proceed from the mob, which is notori- 
ous here), there was rescued from the fire one chest 
alone, with private papers and books, amongst which 
the black and the blue book are especially noticeable. 
In one are recorded all the officials, and beside the 
names are remarks by the Duke in his own handwrit- 
ing, such as ' dog,' ' blockhead,' ' must be worried to 
death,' 'he shall be invited, allow to stand for three 
hours in the ante-chamber, and then told it was a mis- 
take/ ' he is to be provoked to a duel until he sends a 


challenge, then dismissed,* etc.' Beside all the police 
officials stood three crosses, beside Gravenhorst and his 
brother-in-law, Langerfeldt, four. Gravenhorst's succes- 
sor had also already been decided on. In the other 
book was the record of the secret police, and an auto- 
graph essay on the best mode of tyrannizing, in which 
there are the most abominable things, such as one would 
not credit if the majority of the maxims had not been 
already carried out in detail. I could repeat a hun- 
dred anecdotes of him which are all notorious here, but 
are not known abroad; they all show that the Duke, in 
his miserable, tyrannical life, was not only a man devoid 
of all heart, but also actually without common-sense. 
By this you may measure the fury with which all the 
inhabitants of Brunswick were filled when it came at 
last to acts of violence, and the rejoicing with which 
William,** the brother of the banished Charles, and the 
last scion of the house, is received here." 

The reception which was prepared for the new 
Duke seems indeed to have been especially cordial. 
While the deputies delivered the address to the new 
prince, Lepsius saw the populace rejoicing and singing 
the LaFayette hymn, and Götte,t " with all his coarse- 
ness, a very droll man," quietly submit to the honors 
which were heaped upon him. " They wanted to go 

* In this way the official class, the "chickens," as the Duke 
called them, and the nobility, were driven to revolt. It was these 
two classes, and not the populace, who expelled the Duke. 

** Duke William, of Brunswick, recently deceased. 

f The following fragment of a popular song gives some informa- 
tion in regard to this citizen, Götte. It was discovered by my friend, 


back to Richmond in crowds, and Götte gave out 
songs which were to be sung there. The Duke's an- 
swer to the address was read amid great rejoicings. 
Every- one was carried away by the happiest hopes of 
the future. Then they flocked to Richmond. The 
Duke was still at dinner. Permission was requested to 
sing the song : " Hail to Thee, William." The Duke 
came out with General Hertzberg and several others, 
and remained standing during the whole song, which 
was sung by the crowd to a musical accompaniment. 
He then caused several citizens of consideration, who 
stood near, to be summoned, conversed graciously w T ith 
them, etc. The rejoicing is indescribable, and the 
Brunswick ladies especially take the most active part 
in it all." 

An illumination was announced for the evening, and 
as Lepsius' friends, who were members of the city 
militia, had to patrol, he also, to his delight, took a gun 

Professor H. Guthe, who aided me in obtaining farther particulars 
about Götte : 


Hurrah for citizen Götte, 

The man of the August gate ; 
He's half a Lafayette, 

The " Lafa " we abate. 

It was he that didn't tremble, 

To the Duke he pushed his way, 
And without asking questions, 

Told him the truth that day 

The continuation of this folk-song is unknown. " Yette " is sup- 
posed to be equivalent to " Götte," and it was certainly intended by 
the ingenious poet that our " Laffe " (dandy) should be recognized in 
•" Lafa." 



over his shoulder, and as an impromptu soldier, accom- 
panied them through the brightly-lighted streets, unob- 
served and unmolested. The main guard, where the 
patrol finally came to anchor, was stationed on the old 
market-place, just opposite to the very beautifully-illu- 
minated town-hall. Here he first listened to several re- 
markable narratives, and then heard them sing the so- 
called " ballad," a satirical poem on the banished Duke 
Charles. The author himself, a goldsmith, sang the 
verses, and the whole chorus joined in the refrain, " Go 
ahead slowly !" It sounded very well. The first verse 
of this song, which in every respect was very moderate, 
ran thus : 

" For a little while things went ill that day, 

For they taught him manners, they taught him right ; 

They hunted him shamefully far away, 

And his flaming castle they gave him for light. 

But go ahead slowly, go ahead slowly, 
So that we may all hear it well." 

The last stanza greets the new Duke thus : 

" And not long after another man came, 

That can rule the land far better than he ; 

So hurrah with me for that man's name, 
That frees us from the yoke of tyranny. 

But go ahead slowly, go ahead slowly, 
So that we may all hear it well." 

Richard copied off this song of nine stanzas, as 
well as all the documents relating to the Duke's expul- 
sion which he could get possession of, and sent the 
copies to his father. He was in the habit of thus col- 


lecting and writing out in his letters all that he thought 
could possibly give pleasure to his family in Naumburg. 
He maintained throughout his whole life this affection- 
ate endeavor to show his gratitude to his father and to 
requite his love with deeds. He wished him not only 
to sympathize with his serious labors, but also to par- 
ticipate in everything amusing which he encountered, 
and to this category belonged the following verse, 
which he found on a sandstone pillar in the mill-stone 
quarry at Mansfield : 

"If any man doth damage to 

This quarry or its products, do, 
He shall be punished according to law 
And the state of the circumstances." 

During his fourth term (the second at Göttingen), 
Lepsius attended the lectures of O. Müller on Grecian 
Antiquities, Persius and Juvenal; of Dissen, on the 
oratio pro corofia of Demosthenes ; of Heeren, on the 
History of the European States, and of Ewald, on the 
Elements of Sanscrit. This language, indispensable for 
the linguist, and whose importance for the philologist 
also he had recognized even when at school, he had 
wished to study in Leipzig, but had not before been 
able to find time for it. He became one of H. Ewald's 
most industrious pupils, though at first only with a view 
to general comparative philology, to which he now 
intended to devote himself with special zeal, in ad- 
dition to his archaeological and historical studies. 
" Ewald," he writes, " reads his Sanscrit Grammar in 


his room before five or six hearers, a great advantage 
for us, for he has an extremely low voice, though at the 
same time he speaks with extraordinary clearness and 
correctness. As I have always taken special interest 
in general comparative philology, I am so much the 
more delighted that Ewald enters into this largely, 
and does not always confine himself to Sanscrit. He 
by no means adheres strictly to Bopp's Grammar. A 
great deal he gives in a more general way, and many 
things more briefly, and, as is always the case in oral. 
teaching, everything more plainly : in Bopp, too, one 
finds nothing of comparison with other languages." 
When Lepsius wrote these words, and even after his 
first meeting with Bopp in Berlin, he did not foresee 
that this was the scholar to whom he should afterwards 
be indebted for his own method in this very science of 
comparative philology. 

The winter term, begun with great enthusiasm, was 
to meet with an unexpected interruption, for in Decem- 
ber, 1830, the noted Göttingen revolution broke out. 
Richard, indeed only witnessed it as an impartial 
spectator, but it was followed by the closing of the 
lecture-rooms and the expulsion of many students. 
Even Lepsius could only escape this order with 
difficulty, under many conditions, and after his patrons 
and instructors had interceded for him. He naturally 
describes the " Göttingen Revolution " most minutely 
to his father, and his first letter on this subject we annex 
as an appendix to these pages.* 

* See appendix I. 


During the time that the government prohibited the 
professors from lecturing, Lepsius pursued the studies 
which he had commenced with undiminished assiduity, 
and he says in his letters that the closer personal inter- 
course with the instructors amply compensated him for 
the suspended lectures. 

In the following summer term of 1831, his fifth, he 
attended, and always with the same enthusiasm, O. 
Miiller's lectures on Archaeology, on Grecian Antiqui- 
ties, and on Tragic Art among the Greeks and its 
interpretation of the Homeric Hymns. He continued 
to follow Mitscherlich's exposition of the Pharsalia of 
Lucan, and pursued Sanscrit with Ewald. He 
advanced the study of this important language so far 
into the foreground of his scientific labors that he 
placed himself in open opposition to the old philologi- 
cal school. This he did in conjunction with the two 
friends who, with himself, composed the clover leaf of 
Ewald's auditory. In the spirit of F. A. Wolf, and 
encouraged by O. Müller, he wished to become ac- 
quainted with ancient humanity, not only in its entity 
but also in its development. He was no longer con- 
tented with learning Greek and Latin, and although 
his admiration was still excited by Hermann's rational 
presentation of the grammar according to the princi- 
ples of Kant, the elegance and acuteness of his criti- 
cism, and his original investigations in the domain of 
metric art, yet he nevertheless desired to follow his lead 
no longer, but had turned his attention to antiquity in 
its universal and interdependent evolution. His object 



was to trace out the origin of the ancient languages 
and their relation to each other, and the growth and 
blossoming of the art and intellectual life of the 
ancients. Therefore, under Ewald's tuition, he became 
a Sanscrit scholar and a comparative linguist, under the 
guidance of O. Müller, an archaeologist who was also 
interested in comparative mythology, and, powerfully 
influenced by Heeren and Dahlmann, a historian. If 
we picture to ourselves the nature of the scientific 
aspirations of our friend, and the advances which he 
had made, we can only wonder that even at Göttingen 
he had not already turned his eyes towards Egypt, 
where many a branch of the art and learning of the 
ancients has its root. 

Nevertheless, as we shall see, he was to be led 
thither by external circumstances, which at the time, 
however, coincided with his own inclinations. 

He attended Dahlmann's course on " Ancient 
History," and wrote of him to his father : " He pleases 
me extremely; he is just as far from giving a dry 
skeleton of the chief events, without grasping history 
in its higher significance, as he is from serving up gen- 
eralities arid conclusions based upon theories instead of 
facts. An upright mind, and an earnest nature which 
must inspire respect, are united in him to the clear 
penetrating sagacity which sifts a subject and seizes its 
essential points. This makes him as skillful and pre- 
eminent in scientific research in the domain of ancient 
history as he is in the study of the politics of the most 
recent times, with which he principally and most sue- 


cessfully occupies his remaining time. His mode of 
presenting his theme is especially distinguished by a 
perfect command and critical examination of the very 
extensive subject-matter, whose most important periods 
he understands how to characterize and place in the 
proper light in brief yet apposite phrases. His discourse 
is distinguished by quiet, clear, singularly fine, indeed 
classical language, not a word too much or too little." 

We know no more happy sketch of the excellent 
Dahlmann as an academical teacher. 

Dissen, whose influence had especially attached 
Lepsius to classical philology at Göttingen, had become 
so ill that he could offer him but little more. Besides, 
the pupil had been more and more alienated from the 
excellent, but irritable and feeble scholar, by his doc- 
trinary and over-subtle mode of systematizing. " Un- 
fortunately," he writes, " Dissen is not yet at all 
restored to health ; he suffers from excessive weakness 
and sleeplessness. As he often feels very lonely and 
depressed through the night, he frequently has some of 
the students with whom he is more intimately ac- 
quainted to sit up with him. He lies on the sofa with 
his clothes on and has something read aloud to him, 
or converses with them, till now and then he catches a 
little nap. I shall go there to-day or to-morrow, and 
Kreiss, who has offered to do the same, is in great dis- 
tress about it, because he inevitably falls asleep about 
ten o'clock, even when he is reading aloud. Dissen 
considers himself sicker now than he really is, by 
which he only makes his sickness worse." 


This opinion was mistaken, and was proved to be 
so by the painful end of the distinguished scholar.* 

In the autumn of 1831, at the conclusion of this 
fruitful summer term, Lepsius begged his father for per- 
mission to follow his best friend, Kreiss, to his home at 
Strasburg, in Alsace, and to pass the holidays there in 
the house of Kreiss's parents. Just at this time the 
court president had incurred great expenses, yet he was 
willing to comply with his son's wish, if the latter could 
assure him that he expected to derive substantial scien- 
tific advantages from the proposed journey. 

" As I am well acquainted," runs the answer, " with 
your present circumstances of which you write, and 
how all your expenses accumulate just at this time, it 
would be foolish and very wrong of me to expect from 
you any considerable sum for a pure pleasure trip. 
You yourself make your permission dependent upon 
your firm conviction that I shall derive from this trip 
great, and not trifling, gains for my scientific as well as 
for my general education, and indeed on a moderate 
sum. Of the former I cannot say so much, since the 
literary advantages will be confined to the diligent, and 
let us hope, more intelligent and judicious considera- 
tion of the treasures of art on the way, and whatever 
chance may possibly throw into my hands at the 
library in Strasburg. But I cannot overlook the in- 
direct benefit, dependent upon forming the acquaint- 
ance of so many learned men, which must conduce to 

* Dissen died in 1837, after a long and severe illness, at the age 
of fifty-three. 


advancement in my general culture. For I may well 
say that this lies no less near to my heart, and has 
always done so, than purely philological progress ; in- 
deed, I have always regarded them as quite inseparable, 
one completing and sustaining the other. But if I can 
say of none of my former excursions that they were 
mere pleasure trips, from which I derived no substan- 
tial benefit, still less would it be true of this next one, 
to which I should address myself with better prepara- 
tion and more knowledge than to any previous jour- 
ney. Besides, I could neither make up for it in the 
future, during my final years of study, when my time 
will be still more limited, nor could I ever again ex- 
pect to meet so good an opportunity." 

Lepsius remained faithful to this desire for general 
culture throughout his later years, and it preserved the 
indefatigable investigator, who was often obliged to 
devote the best part of his time and energy to ap- 
parently trivial scientific problems, from becoming, even 
in the remotest degree, what is called a closet scholar. 

Unfortunately we have before us only the lesser 
half of the account which he sent his father of this 
autumn journey to Strasburg and his sojourn there. 
This, however, is sufficient to show with what vigilance 
he seized on everything that was noteworthy, what a 
keen appreciation he had acquired, under the tuition of 
O. Müller, for art and all that is classed under the 
head of relics of antiquity, and how indefatigably he 
searched the libraries for their stores of knowledge. 
Wherever he went, too, he considered it especially 



desirable to make the acquaintance of eminent men, 
and to establish relations with them. Of books, 
characteristically enough, he took none with him but 
Müller's Handbook of Archaeology and Ewald's work 
on Sanscrit. He was an active pedestrian, but the 
hard work of the last term was visible on his originally 
robust physique, for after he had claimed at Mainz 
the hospitality of a cousin of his father's the latter 
wrote to the president of the court at Naumburg : 
" Moreover, I cannot conceal from you that friend 
Richard looks thinner now than he did three 
years ago.* His pedestrian tour from Göttingen here 
cannot be to blame, therefore I have made inquiries of 
H. Kreiss as to the cause of it, and learned from him 
that he (Richard) is in the habit of studying far into 
the night. This never answers, and undermines the 
best constitution ; so warn him against it, for it would 
be a great pity if with all his talents and the learning 
which he has already acquired, he should carry away 
an infirm body." 

Lepsius fortunately escaped this danger, in spite 
of rather increased than diminished application during 
the final terms, which were devoted to the completion 
of his studies. 

The journey to Strasburg also took him through 
Heidelberg. Here he sought out those scholars who 

* When a pupil in the highest class, Richard had travelled on 
the Rhine with his father during the vacation, and visited Mainz at 
the same time. The charming description of this journey, which in 
print would fill quite a little volume, has been preserved in manu- 


had inspired him with interest, and described them 
to his father in concise and pointed language. Ex- 
cellent is the likeness which he sketched of Creuzer, 
the author of the " Symbolism and Mythology of 
Ancient Nations." This work was at that time highly 
esteemed, but was really inaccurate and worthless, in 
spite of the pains spent upon it, and an imaginative 
faculty which was unfortunately too easily excited. 
Not in vain had Lepsius enjoyed the teaching of the 
author of the " Prologomena to a Scientific Mythology " 
(O. Müller). " Dr. Hitzig,'' he writes, " we did not 
find at home. We found Creuzer, though, whom I had 
fancied quite a different sort of person; he left an un- 
pleasant impression upon me, with his peruke and 
snuff-box. I could not discover a single intellectual 
trait in the expression of his countenance, nothing in 
his eye, which could have helped me to excuse his 
well-known presumptuous and mystifying treatment of 
mythology. I found in his character a certain frivolous 
pedantry, and far too much self-confidence. We talked 
of archaeology ; he put on great airs, without mani- 
festing much wisdom ; he found fault with O. Miiller's 
hand-book for having too much in it !" 


After his return from Strasburg, Lepsius went back 
to Göttingen, and in the spring of 1832 he removed 
thence to Berlin, there to conclude his studies. The 


testimonials which he received at his departure did him 
the highest honor. Otfned Müller said, that he had 
attended his lectures with remarkable diligence, and an 
unmistakable love for the subject; that he had partici- 
pated with " philological intelligence and talent " in the 
exercises of the school of philology, and had, in gen- 
eral, given to that subject " arduous study, guided by 
scientific ideas." Jacob Grimm commended him as 
having gained a comprehensive survey of philology, 
and already acquired much well-grounded knowledge 
of that science. Ewald said he had followed his 
lectures with praiseworthy diligence and zeal, and had 
made great progress in the study of Sanscrit. Dahl- 
mann praised his industry warmly, and added that 
Lepsius had also become known to him as making most 
laudable progress on the path of scientific and moral 

With such testimonials, and thus excellently equip- 
ped, he came to Berlin in the beginning of May, 1832. 
Here he had the pleasure of again meeting his friends 
and fellow-students of Göttingen — Kreiss and Ehr- 
hardt. The three now clubbed together to keep house. 

At first he gave but qualified approval to the leaders 
of philological life in Berlin, Boeckh and Lachmann, 
and even to Bopp. With the latter, however, in the 
course of time he entered into closer relations, and 
afterwards, in our own presence, called him the founder 
of his linguistic method. He had been spoiled at 
Göttingen by Müller, Dahlmann and Heeren, who 
united the most brilliant eloquence to profound and 


far-seeing intellects. His reverence for the immortal 
achievements of Boeckh had been shaken, first in 
Leipsic by Hermann, who was always glad to give a 
cut at his Berlin colleagues in his lectures,* and after- 
wards by Dissen. Later, he entirely regained his 
respect for the great erudition, the sound criticism, the 
statesmanlike views, the excellent method, and the 
noble character of this rare scholar and man. Even 
Schleiermacher did not fully answer his expectations. 
He only attended the lectures on the History of Ger- 
man Literature because Lachman was dreaded as an 
examiner in this branch of study, and it was said that 
he was accustomed to " chaff " those students who 
were not well prepared. " He reads very disagreeably, 
but he gives good things, and fortunately I had pre- 
viously formed a still worse idea of him — from the 
description of others." He attended the lectures on 
the History of Greek Literature by Boeckh, " and 
because one really misses the best less among bad 
than among good, I miss our Otfried Müller especially 
in this course. For I am firmly convinced that Boeckh, 
although his teacher, does not by any means approach 
him. Yet they are, as they are reputed to be, good 
lectures. In the afternoons from four to five I hear 
Comparative Grammar by Bopp, a lifeless, dull dis- 

* In a letter of Samuel Hirzel's to Horner, the former gives 
most lively expression to his delight in the lectures of G. Hermann, 
and afterwards says : " Then he began inveighing against Buttmann 
without ceremony." A. Springer, The Young Hirzel, Leipzig, 1883. 
It is well known what a harsh attack Hermann Boeckh could make in 
the presence of his class. 


course, in which the arrangement of the material is 
never clear and workmanlike. In many fundamental 
views however, on the formation of the main stem, I 
have always been much more of his than of Grimm's 
or Miiller's opinion, and on this account he interests 
me greatly, although Miiller's lectures on the History 
of the Greek and Latin languages were infinitely more 
copious and satisfactory than these can ever be. But 
in his own house Bopp is an agreeable man, by whose 
vast and profound learning I hope to benefit farther." 

This Lepsius did, and to his great advantage, for 
at that time Bopp, whose lectures were indeed lifeless 
and tiresome (we too were among his pupils), was at 
the acme of his great activity, and had raised compara- 
tive philology to the rank of a science. We should 
rather call him the promoter than, as is commonly done, 
the father of this branch of study, which had indeed 
an existence, although an irregular one, before his time. 
His method, which was determinative for subsequent 
works in the same field, set aside, as idle pastime, the 
attractive search for and comparison of accidental 
resemblances between the sounds in different languages, 
and taught that the common origin of allied idioms 
should be sought for in a radical manner by examina- 
tion of their grammatical construction. 

When Lepsius came to Berlin, Bopp was working 
with his whole energy on his imperishable colossal 
work, the " Comparative Grammar," and exercised 
far greater influence over such well-equipped young 
scholars as sought personal acquaintance with him, 


than through his stiff academic discourses. Lepsius 
first learned to thoroughly appreciate him and to 
benefit by his exuberant learning after he had entered 
into intimate private relations with the master, to whom, 
as far as comparative philology is concerned, young 
Lepsius' teacher at Göttingen was also greatly indebted. 

From his letters to his father it appears that it was 
chiefly the lack of that method of exposition to which 
he had become accustomed in Göttingen, and which 
was in every respect consummate, that led Richard 
more than once to undervalue the Berlin professors, 
and even the excellent Boeckh. He attended Schleier- 
macher's lectures on the " Life of Jesus," in order to 
have heard at least one theological course, and to learn 
to know the man. But these lectures too, although 
for other reasons, found little favor with him. " Schlei- 
ermacher," he writes, " gives in his Life of Jesus noth- 
ing but negative dialectics, and to me he is a living 
contradiction from beginning to end." 

He speaks most unfavorably of the school of phil- 
ology as it existed at that time in Berlin, under the 
management of Boeckh and Lachmann. " A frightful 
confusion is the order of the day here, and it is scarcely 
to be compared with that at Göttingen. So that it 
would not have occurred to me to enter, if in spite of 
all this they did not think so highly of it here. They 
translate Herodotus (in my opinion a very unsuitable 
choice for such a school), and the odes of Horace, and 
hold discussions over papers which are handed in, and 
difficult passages which are propounded." 


In truth the lectures had little more to offer him, for 
he already stood firmly upon his own feet, and had 
learned both how to avail himself of the works of his 
instructors and to labor independently in an assured 
and methodic manner. Besides, his time was much 
taken up with his dissertation for the doctor's degree. 
He had found for this a theme as interesting as it was 
difficult, and we may be permitted to point out how he 
came to select it, and to whom he was indebted for 
special assistance in the execution of his task. 

First let it be noted that the famous Eugubian 
Tablets are seven plates of copper, which were found 
in 1444 in a subterranean vault {concameratio sub- 
terranea), and are now preserved in the town hall of 
Gubbio (the Eugubium or Iguvium of the ancients). 
The inscriptions with which the tablets are covered are 
partly based upon the Umbrian and partly on the Latin 
language. Where the latter is employed as the lan- 
guage of the text Latin letters are used, but otherwise 
the letters of a peculiar alphabet. These inscriptions 
are the oldest of all ancient Italian monuments of lan- 
guage, and with their help it has become possible to 
reproduce a good part of the old Umbrian language. 
Their contents furnish important disclosures as to the 
forms of worship and the sacrificial customs of the 
heathen Umbrians. The liturgical fragments make us 
acquainted with the hymns and liturgies which were to 
be recited or sung by the priests. The Saturnian metre 
and many alliterations have been found again in them. 
The old dialect which forms the basis of the Umbrian 


inscriptions seems to belong to the fourth century 
before Christ. 

Bonarota and Lanzi (1789) had given their atten- 
tion to these tablets, and they were afterwards treated 
by O. Müller in his " Etruscans," and there for the first 
time handled in a critical though by no means exhaust- 
ive manner. On the 30th of December, 1831, Lepsius, 
while yet at Göttingen, writes to his father : " I have 
found an excellent subject for investigation. Müller 
first drew my attention to it, and if I can make any- 
thing out of it I will perhaps choose it for my doctor's 
dissertation. It is the seven Eugubian Tablets, the 
sole but important relic of the Umbrian language. So 
far, no one understands them, but they would be of the 
greatest consequence for the old Italian forms of wor- 
ship and sacrificial customs, since it is easy to conject- 
ure that the inscriptions upon them are sacrificial 
formulas. Müller has already attempted to determine 
the terminations of some of the declensions in his 
" Etruscans ;" a considerable resemblance to the Latin 
and also to the Greek, is unmistakable, and I am con- 
vinced that a great deal can yet be made out, though 
it would cost much time and labor. With regard to 
this, it is of great moment that five of the tablets are 
in Etruscan characters, and two in Latin, which gives a 
clue to the relations of many of the sounds in Umbrian, 
especially since there are an extraordinary number of 
repititions, and both the Latin tablets, as I have already 
discovered, are only the farther continuation of an 
Etruscan, so that I have already made out almost all 


the words of this Etruscan tablet on those in Latin, 
and written them over the Latin words. I have also 
already discovered two new alphabetical characters 
which were known neither to Müller nor the earlier 
commentators on the " Eugubian Tablets." Thereupon 
he gives his father a specimen, in which he writes the 
Latin text in black ink and the Etruscan above it in 

While in Berlin he became more and more deeply 
absorbed in the Eugubian Tablets, and from the letters 
at our disposal it appears that even before going there 
he had decided positively to discuss these remarkable 
monuments of language in his doctor's dissertation. A 
few days after his arrival on the Spree he appeals to 
the legal knowledge of his father and his familiarity 
with the form of mediaeval contracts, to decide a ques- 
tion which seems to him of importance for the work on 
which he is engaged. In the town hall at Gubbio 
there was preserved a contract of sale of the year 1456 
which set forth that the city had acquired seven tablets 
from the owner, at a high price. Since the contract 
was concluded only twelve years after the discovery, it 
seemed to follow that no more than seven tablets had 
been discovered; and as Lepsius now believed that 
more than seven tablets had been originally found, he 
took the contract for one of those counterfeits which 
were not uncommon in Italy. He now wished to 
know whether any marks of a counterfeit could be 
detected in the form, and on this account sent a copy 
of the contract to his father. 


Amongst the professors of his faculty there was 
none whose advice Lepsius wished to ask in this mat- 
ter, but he received welcome assistance from a lawyer. 
This was C. A. K. Klenze, an unusually talented 
scholar and noble philanthropist who, besides import- 
ant works on law, had also written those excellent phil- 
ological " Dissertations," which were afterwards pub- 
lished by Lachmann. Lepsius had already made the 
acquaintance of Klenze in Göttingen, he sought him 
out in Berlin, and could soon write to his father: " He 
handles Oscan subjects as I do Umbrian. The two are 
nearly related, and he has had the courtesy to let me 
see in manuscript a treatise which is shortly to appear 
in print, and to allow me to make use of as much of it 
as I think best. In return I am to give him my 
opinion of his work, which is very flattering for. me." 

The arrival in Berlin of the distinguished archaeolo- 
gist, Gerhard, at that time Secretary of the great 
Archaeological Institute at Rome, was of great advan- 
tage to Lepsius, not only with regard to the progress of 
his dissertation, but also in many other respects. He 
met Richard's friend, Kreiss, at Professor Steffens', and 
told him that on his (Gerhard's) way through Göttin- 
gen, Otfried Müller had spoken to him of the Eugubian 
work of a very promising young scholar, to whom he 
would gladly be of service^ In consequence of this 
Lepsius called on him, " and he," so Richard writes to 
Naumburg, " kindly gave me much interesting informa- 
tion, showed me his drawings, and promised to attend 
to any inquiries that I might wish to have made in 


Gubbio. Of these there were of course plenty. I wrote 
them all out in Latin on a sheet of paper, and as soon 
as I brought it to him he sent it to Vermiglioli in Peru- 
gia, which is only a few hours distant from Gubbio. I 
may have an answer in six weeks. But if they take an 
entire new transcript of the tables, which I asked for 
afterwards, it cannot be so soon." 

The further intercourse which he at this time en- 
joyed with Gerhard was afterwards to prove most use- 
ful to him. But he could not yet know how favorable 
it was also to be for his material prosperity, when he 
wrote after a three hours visit to the celebrated archae- 
ologist, just before the examination, " Truly very 
precious time just now, and yet well spent." In the 
middle of January, 1833, Gerhard invited him to assist 
him in the publication and exposition of his copious 
collections for the Archaeological Institute. He also 
engaged him as assistant on a review concerning the 
history of art which he intended to publish in Germany. 
Lepsius' work was to consist mainly in reading over the 
epigraphic department of archaeology, and selecting 
what was noteworthy, which he would have done at any 
rate on his own account. He was to put it in readable 
shape, and let himself be paid. This prospect of lucra- 
tive literary employment after the close of the examin- 
ation delighted Lepsius as much as did the invitation to 
write short papers for the Bulletino of the Institute, 
chiefly on L'mbrian coins and mythological subjects, 
which he could consider as a side-work to the more 
important work on the Eugubian Tablets. 


What Lepsius showed Gerhard of his dissertation * 
pleased the latter exceedingly, and after it was finally 
completed and handed in to the Faculty it was received 
by that body also with such commendation and unquali- 
fied approval that it won for the candidate the highest 
testimonial. This work, as solid as it is ingenious, is 
dedicated to his father, and it soon contributed, more 
than anything else, to attract the attention of eminent 
men to the son, and prove him qualified to continue the 
labors of the great decipherer of hieroglyphics, Cham- 

In the prescribed disputation his opponents were the 
dr. jur. Goeschen, the dr. phil. Kaempf, and the 
cand. phil. Gottheiner. In his eleventh thesis, he 
honored Godfrey Hermann, his old teacher at Leipsic, 
by maintaining that his was the only correct interpreta- 
tion of the three hundred and fifty-seventh verse of the 
Agamemnon of Aeschylus.** 

On the twenty-third of April his uncle Glaeser 
wrote to his father, " To make up for these cares (con- 
cerning the practical matters of the graduation) I have 
had the greatest pleasure, one of the most delightful 
moments of my life, when, after two o'clock, my 
Richard came home accompanied by one of his friends 
and opponents, and I could greet him as Doctor, and 
embrace him with the happiest emotions. We sat 

* De Tabulis Eugubinis. Dissert. Berolini. 1833. (Index to 
AVorks. No. 1.) 

** Aeschyl. Agam. VS. 357: ttoWÜjv yäp to-dhuv Tr\v örrjcrti' eiA.b/u.Tji'' 

Hermanni interpreiationem unam esse rectam, etiamsi librorum 
lectio retineatur. 


down together and drank a bottle of the very best. 
Yesterday evening I gave him his doctor's banquet, 
and we were all as merry as possible together till two 
o'clock. Believe me truly, my dearest brother, if 
Richard, in addition to his scientific training, had not 
this practical savoir faire, he would never have made 
his way so easily and quickly through this wilderness of 
cares of all sorts." 

Lepsius had now completed his life as a student, 
and with the highest honors which the greatest of the 
German universities could bestow. He was a sound 
philologist, archaeologist, Sanscrit scholar and linguist, 
but at no time had he given any thorough study to the 
Oriental-Semitic languages, and he had paid no atten- 
tion whatever to the Hamitic (ancient Egyptian, Cop- 
tic, etc). His neglect of the former was often after- 
wards an embarrassment and matter of regret to him ; 
of the latter he became an expert master after the formal 
completion of his studies, in consequence of notable 
circumstances with which we are about to become ac- 


Before the close of the examination Richard had 
already written admirable letters to his father, in which 
he consulted with him, as one friend would with an- 
other, as to what he should do after graduating. Paris 


was at that time still esteemed the centre of learning, 
and to work for a time in Paris was to give one's 
studies the final polish and to place the crown upon 
them. Even Lepsius had yet much to gain there, and 
therefore we see the father grant his consent that the 
young doctor should bring his apprenticeship to a final 
close upon the Seine. 

He arrived in Paris on the fourteenth of July, 1833, 
a year after the death of Champollion, the first de- 
cipherer of hieroglyphics. The diary which he kept 
during his residence there, (in after years he only made 
occasional short notes in memorandum books arranged 
as calendars), as well as the letters to Bunsen which 
were kept to the very last fragment, and the less per- 
fectly preserved letters to his father, all testify to the 
zeal, the discretion, the cheerful courage, and the alert 
attention with which he made use of his long sojourn in 
what was then the " focus of the intellectual life of the 

The period spent in Paris had a still more decisive 
influence upon him than that at Göttingen. During 
this time the youth matured into a settled man ; his 
scientific inclination received a new bias, and its ob- 
jects became plainly defined. 

Champollion had said, in his introductory lecture, 
that the science of archaeology was a beautiful maiden 
without a dower. This aphorism was at that time en- 
tirely appropriate, yet not only the young scholar him- 
self, but his father also, knew the wonderful charms of 
the bride, and every possible exertion was made by 


b>oth, to win her for the ardent wooer. The " court 
president " in Naumburg was an official of the higher 
class, in good standing, with moderate property, and 
many children, nevertheless he allowed his highly 
gifted son the necessary means with which to remain 
for a time in Paris and devote himself, free from 
care, to his scientific education. But the young in- 
vestigator felt that he would not have attained his 
purpose at the end of the " several months " which 
his father had originally contemplated. He did 
not wish to leave France or its capital, until he had 
gained all that was there to be won, and especially 
(this he insists upon repeatedly), not until he had ac- 
quired perfect command of the French language. In 
order to earn the necessary means for a longer stay he 
at first thought of translating into French his vademe- 
cum, Otfried Miiller's Handbook of Archaeology, 
which, to him, was such a dear and familiar friend. But 
this undertaking was not carried out, and he began by 
giving German lessons to two renowned scholars. From 
one of them, Dureau de la Malle, membre de P Institute, 
whom he calls a specimen of a dissipated, frivolous 
Frenchman, he received five francs an hour, from the 
excellent De Witte only four. " He learns more for his 
four francs than the other for his five." Meanwhile the 
desired opportunity soon presented itself for earning in 
a suitable manner the necessary addition to the yearly 
allowance from his father. The learned Due de Luynes, 
"such a duke as is seldom seen, a avw *aAb? «aya^o? 
in the fullest sense, who is also well-versed in the classi- 


cal languages," commissioned Lepsius to collect for him 
from the Greek and Latin authors the material which 
he needed for his archaeological-philological work. 
" On the Weapons of the Ancients." Lepsius received 
a handsome monthly salary for this work, which he 
could easily manage in addition to his other studies, 
and he executed it so entirely to the satisfaction of the 
duke that the latter afterwards awarded him special re- 

Lepsius was now in such a position that he could 
conveniently, and without material anxieties, profit by 
all that Paris offered in the way of instruction, and at 
the same time participate in all the intellectual pleasures 
of life in the capital. We see him working indefatiga- 
bly in his pleasant apartment, and in his leisure hours 
enjoying the society of his friends and playing on his 
own good piano. He was very musical and sang well 
and correctly. The public libraries and museums are 
at his disposal, and he makes diligent use of them ; 
private collections are also opened to him, and he at- 
tends the lectures of the most eminent professors at the 
university. Those of the great philologist and archae- 
ologist, Letronne, appear to him particularly attractive, 
and among them one especially " On the Ancient His- 
tory of Egypt." He praises these lectures for their 
great critical acumen and clearness, and declares that 
Letronne takes pleasure in contradicting everything not 
capable of proof, and in denying all earlier influence of 
Egypt upon Greece, (before Psammetik. Twenty-Sixth 
Dynasty.) Letronne only accepted what was indisputa- 


ble of Champollion's discoveries, and it was he who 
especially roused and fostered in Lepsius the distrust 
which he too bore towards the great investigator, and 
which caused him to hesitate about entertaining Bun- 
sen's proposition that he should devote himself to 

Alexander von Humboldt, with whom he had be- 
come acquainted in Berlin, had commended him 
warmly to the celebrated philologist, Hase, and from 
him and others he had received excellent introductions. 
He was highly esteemed also by the members of the 
Institute, on account of his admirable first work. Thus 
he was enabled to make the acquaintance of the great- 
est Orientalists, philologists and archaeologists of 
France, and was most cordially received by Silvestre de 
Sacy, Quatre-Mere de Quincy, Raynouard, Raoul- 
Rochette, the Due de Luynes, etc. He became inti- 
mate with Panofka, and the learned Stahl, secretary of 
the Asiatic Society, invited him to drink German beer 
in his apartment. This man he calls " a paragon of the 
learning of the whole world." " He may be called 
greedy in regard to time and knowledge. He sleeps 
seven hours, cooks his dinner, — a little rice, — 
himself, spends almost no time at all on all the 
externals of life, such as eating, dressing, shav- 
ing, visiting, etc., and all the moments thus 
gained he spends in study. He knows a host of 
Asiatic languages, Chinese among others, and almost 
all the European, is incredibly conversant with the his- 
tory and geography of all countries and times, as well 


as with all literatures, swims and fences very well, is a 
sturdy pedestrian, conducts the whole Asiatic corres- 
pondence, etc." Yet, " this phenomenon of learning " 
had been in nowise distinguished at school, and had 
usually occupied the lowest places there. A genius he 
cannot call him, for his power of original production 
has suffered from his erudition, and with all his attain- 
ments he has never written any complete work. But 
Lepsius understood how to learn from him, and ob- 
tained through him an insight into the construction of 
Chinese. Stahl's opinion, that among the Chinese as 
also among several uncivilized nations, intellectual con- 
ceptions were developed before sensuous, seems to 
Lepsius entirely contrary to reason ; and he only ap- 
prehends from this that we have become acquainted 
with the intellectual culture of the Chinese at a very 
late, and consequently intellectually abstract, period. 

He seeks to profit by the learning of other Parisian 
scholars, as well as by Stahl's surpassing erudition. 
Amongst the noted Germans with whom he associated 
on the Seine, he names Wagen, the historian of art 
from Berlin, Müntz, Himly, Urlichs, the painter Bon- 
terweck, Tix, Diibner, Stickel, Spach, the Alsatian 
Lobstein, and the historian Zinkeisen. 

He also devoted many precious hours to learning 
engraving on copper and lithography. He used his 
first independent attempt in the art of engraving on 
copper, (the central portion of the plan of Paris), to 
adorn the sheets of letter paper on which he wrote 
home to his family, and on this neat engraving he 


marked in fine writing the houses which he most fre- 
quented, the museum of the Louvre, the Library, the 
Institute, the two restaurants where he usually took his 
meals, and even the dwellings of Panofka, Müntz, and 
Count de Bouge, between whose wife and himself a 
charming friendship existed, and whose salon he often 
visited on Sunday. 

As if he already foresaw at that time to what an ex- 
tent he would afterwards have to call upon these repro- 
ductive arts for his scientific work, he wrote, after 
taking home with him the fiset lithographic stone for 
the purpose of drawing upon it : " There are many ad- 
vantages in investigating the technique of every promi- 
nent branch of art and science, even if I do not need 
to make use of lithography later for my own inscrip- 

But this he did, and if the publications which were 
prepared for him by this method of reduplication sur- 
pass all others in neatness and beauty, it should be 
credited to the score of the technical knowledge which 
he acquired in Paris. 

There, also, he committed to paper his first musical 
compositions. A song, written by himself, which he 
set to music with an accompaniment, was followed by 
others, for at that time he everywhere kept up his pro- 
ficiency in this art, and particularly while in Paris. Xot 
only the antiquarian collections, but also the exhibitions 
of new paintings and statuary were constantly visited, 
and, no less frequently, the theatre. His diary shows 
with what quick sympathy and keen judgment he lis- 


tened to tragedies, comedies, and opera. The repre- 
sentation of French tragedy is most severely censured. 
" The performance of Corneille's Cid was bad beyond 
measure, and fearfully French. . . . The players of 
to-day, who act Corneille and Racine, have preserved 
nothing of the tragic art but the tragic mask, and this 
they fasten on behind instead of in front, so as not to 
hide their lovely French faces." The only one who 
compelled his unlimited admiration was Mars, who, as 
an old woman of sixty-eight, at that time filled the 
most youthful roles with admirable sweetness and 
naivete. Montrose and Mademoiselle Dupont he also 
rates very highly. He bestows the warmest enco- 
miums on the Cirque Olympique, conducted by Loiset. 
" Here is actual art, not only feats of skill. Painters 
and sculptors should come here to study, as Phidias 
and the Grecian sculptors did in their gymnasiums. 
Superb figures are displayed here, and strength, dex- 
terity, freedom and ease are combined with real beauty 
of form, such as one vainly seeks in the ballet. Our 
ballet has almost lost rank as an art ; the sole laudable 
exception is Taglioni, whom I have seen here in the 
Sylphide, and admired, as I did in Berlin. If any one 
wished to fashion a worthy statue of Terpsichore it 
might perhaps be possible from Noblet, Foncisy and 
all the rest of them, to construct a passable pair of 
legs : it would only be necessary to take a cast of Tag- 
lioni, and there you would have it in perfection." 

All that is beautiful and remarkable in Paris passes 
under the vigilant eye of this indefatigable scholar. He 


is active as collector, student and investigator, and dur- 
ing the latter part of the time in a department of 
science which had till then been as good as unknown 
to him. But he is also busy with both hands and 
brain in earning meat to go with his bread, and in pro- 
ducing a new and difficult original work. We see him 
attend public festivals, ride out into the country, exam- 
ine every corner of the city, give his attention to the 
industries of the Parisians, go to parties and salons as 
a welcome guest, sing and play with friends, and 
through all this we can trace the progress of an essay 
on Sanscrit palaeography from which was afterwards 
developed the excellent treatise on " Palaeography as a 
Means of Etymological Research.* For this, — an al- 
most unheard-of honor, — the youth of three and 
twenty receives the Volney prize. 

He says, at a later period, that Paris was always to 
him a city rich in interest, instruction and manifold 
benefits. During his first sojourn there it appeared to 
him " in one respect " (undoubtedly in respect to the 
animation and refinement of social life,) " the capital of 
the world." But in spite of his youth Lepsius in no 
wise allowed himself to be dazzled by the glittering as- 
pects of French life. It was in the public libraries that 
he first became sensible of the drawbacks in the con- 
ditions of the Parisians. " The management of the 
libraries is abominable," he writes, " no zeal, no knowl- 
edge, not even good-will. Miserable officials, lack of 

* Berlin 1834. Second Edition. Leipsic 1842. (Index to Works. 
No. III.) 


everything that is not French. It is true that I am 
spoiled by the Göttingen and Berlin libraries, etc." 

Since that time many improvements have been 
made in these institutions. The special attention given 
to them by Lepsius was of use to him as " Chief Li- 
brarian," in the evening of his life. 

From the first he had devoted himself with great 
ardor to the study of the French language. But, al- 
though he was pleased with his progress, he did not 
allow himself to be blinded in this regard either, and, 
after he had spent four months in the cultivation of his 
French style, he wrote, " A Frenchman only needs to 
think correctly and truly, and he is sure to write 
properly and well ; in German a good style is far more 
difficult, for there one must know all the deeps and 
shallows not to steer crookedly or clumsily, or even run 
aground. The French language is a level surface, and 
one slips along as if skating on ice; the German lan- 
guage has depths over which it is more dangerous and 
requires more skill to steer, but one can go farther on it. 
When water is deep and moves rapidly it never freezes, 
and neither does the boundless sea. So the German 
with his language can make the whole world his own ; 
the Frenchman is restricted to his mirror-like surface. 
One must cherish one's hatred against everything 
French not to lose one's own depth. As soon as one 
takes pleasure in French things one's spirit rests on 
enervating down feathers. Yet one should always 
learn, even from one's enemies. 

Lepsius took the most lively interest in every event 


of importance that occurred during the time of his so- 
journ in Paris. He devotes a large space in his diary 
to the great popular festival, celebrated on the anniver- 
sary of the Revolution, from the twenty-seventh to the 
twenty-ninth of July, 1843, and to the unveiling of the 
statue of Napoleon on the Vendome column. This 
took place on the second day of the grand festival. 
The statue was enveloped in a green cloth, besprinkled 
with stars. " The impression made by the unveiling," 
he writes, (and we gladly make room here for the ac- 
count, both for its own sake and as a specimen of the 
German style of young Lepsius,) " the impression, es- 
pecially amidst these surroundings, was very striking. 
Above this seething mass, these convulsions of a strug- 
gling mob, this shouting and quarrelling, this motley 
throng, this glittering of military display, there suddenly 
appeared, not like a rock in the sea, (to which possibly 
the column might have been compared,) but like a 
supernatural power, the calm, majestic presence of 
Napoleon. What can produce a greater impression 
than the power of a mind which manifests itself in a 
composed bearing and a commanding expression, face 
to face with the unruly passions of similar human 
spirits ?" 

In these words he presents to us the ideal of his life, 
and we shall see how well he himself ever succeeded in 
preserving such a commanding attitude towards unruly 
passions. "This expression of command," he con- 
tinues, "is still grander than the great yet inanimate 
nature, which is sometimes admired in contrast with 


nature, or even humanity, in a state of excitement. A 
like impression, too, was unconsciously depicted on 
every face, and a general shout, ' Vie l'Empereur! Vive 
Napoleon !' burst from the innumerable throng, which 
really seemed for a moment entirely to forget the op- 
pressive present. For one moment every lineament 
expressed admiration, pleasure, satisfaction." Then he 
describes how Louis Philippe conducted the review, 
and continues, " However, not the least enthusiasm 
was manifested for him, which, in my opinion, is mainly 
owing to his personality. His external appearance 
presents nothing that is at all imposing, nothing attrac- 
tive ; no intellectual power of any sort is expressed in 
his figure or his face; he impresses you as a stout 
citizen, returning thanks for the great honor which is 
done him. And yet here in France, if anywhere, at 
least a semblance of intrinsic greatness is needed for 
the eyes of the people, since the mystic vail of royal 
greatness has so entirely fallen from the head of the 
citizen king. As the king rode past one only heard a 
clamor, such as springs from gratified curiosity." 
From this festival, as Lepsius describes it, can be infer- 
red the historical events which must of necessity occur 
later : the expulsion of Louis Philippe and the acclama- 
tion of a Napoleon to the French throne. 

With the appearance of the citizen king Lepsius' 
exalted frame of mind is dissipated, and he tries to fix 
the note which he can designate as prevalent in the 
general din. With the aid of the interval between the 
lowest note of his own voice and the sound which 


formed the key-note of the clamor, he found it to be 
the treble e. Thus does the spirit of research ever 
demand her due of him. The linguist everywhere 
scrutinizes the value and significance of sounds and 
tones. He does not disdain to amuse himself with 
them occasionally, and to determine the relation be- 
tween them and other perceptions of the senses. " O" 
he writes at one time in his diary, " seems to me brown, 
a, light blue, e, colorless, a clear faint color, /, bright 
yellow." At that time, while writing his essay on 
Sanscrit palaeography, he thought he discerned that in 
all languages the vowels had formed themselves by 
degrees, like colors, from the a, but that originally there 
had been no distinction between vowels and conso- 
nants. The words, he thought, had been divided ac- 
cording to their sounds, in such a way that each conso- 
nant with the vowel which followed it constituted an 
inseparable whole. Hence in Sanscrit a originally was 
even considered as a consonant, or rather as a combi- 
nation of the Greek Spiritus lenis and the a which 
necessarily followed it. 

In Paris Lepsius is at first a linguist solely, and does 
not concern himself with Egyptological studies. But 
by the end of October, through Panofka, he is first 
invited to come to Italy in the name of Gerhard, who 
had kept him in mind since their meeting in Berlin, and 
then he receives a letter from the Alsatian Lobstein, 
who had met him in Paris, and who has been author- 
ized by Bunsen and also by Kellermann to make him a 
serious proposition to come to Rome. There he is first 


to busy himself with a collection of Umbrian, Oscan, 
and Etruscan inscriptions, for which his dissertation 
would seem especially to qualify him, and secondly to de- 
vote himself seriously to the study of the writing and 
language of the ancient Egyptians. The first proposal is 
entirely acceptable to him from the beginning, although 
it is only for the sake of completeness that he will in- 
clude in his corpus inscriptionem the Etruscan inscrip- 
tions, on the deciphering of which " many a man may 
yet wear out his teeth." The second proposition, on 
the contrary, causes him the most serious deliberation. 
It is true that Gerhard, through whom he had been 
most warmly commended to Bunsen, had already in 
Berlin urged him to the study of hieroglyphics, and had 
assured him that he should himself undertake it if he 
were but younger. It is also true that he felt his own 
powers had now become fit to cope with the greatest 
difficulties, but yet it seemed to him advisable to await 
the appearance of Champollion's grammar, in order to 
learn how the matter actually stood. He could thence 
gather and decide whether the foundations had been so 
well laid that by rational and scientific investigation he 
should really be able to accomplish something substan- 
tial on a field, which, with the exception of Champollion 
himself, had up to that time been almost exclusively 
occupied by bunglers and incompetent dilettanti. 

The prudence with which the youth of three and 
twenty proceeded in this important question of his life, 
is most remarkable. In the letters which he addressed 
to his father, in order to obtain his advice, he sets forth 


clearly and exhaustively all the reasons on both sides. 
Bunsen, from whom these proposals emanate, is a per- 
son of great influence, and if he, Lepsius, finds Cham- 
pollion's preparatory work satisfactory, and it is possible 
to realize his patron's plan of finally entrusting him with 
the direction of the fine Egyptian collection at Berlin, 
there then opens before him the prospect of an assured 
future, as far as the material circumstances of life are 
concerned. This it is usually far more difficult for an 
archaeologist and philologist to secure than for a gram- 
marian and teacher. He would not be content, he 
writes, to gain his livelihood by book-writing. He had 
already written to his father from Berlin, March thir- 
teenth, 1833, " I do not know whether I should have any 
special talent for the profession of teaching, since I have 
never yet tried it, and even if I should adopt it, from 
inclination, and with the expectation of finding content- 
ment in it, yet, in truth, it is not a great career." If he 
can hope, (thus he continues to write to his father, after 
Bunsens invitation,) to find in Egyptology a satisfac- 
tory field for research, and if Bunsen can give him in 
advance the most positive prospect of the patronage of 
the Prussian government, and the hope of afterwards 
obtaining an appointment in the fine Egyptian collec- 
tion at Berlin, then he will decide to go to Rome, and 
to turn his studies in the new direction which Bunsen 
desires ; but otherwise not. 

His father could only assent to his doubts and de- 
liberations, and so, on December twelfth, 1833, the son 
wrote to Bunsen the following letter, which was to give 


both to his studies and his life a tendency so peculiarly 
propitious for his character and talents. 

" The kind confidence which, judging by an invita- 
tion lately sent me through H. Lobstein, you appear to 
feel in my abilities, has aroused in me no less pleasure 
than serious doubts as to how far I may myself confide 
in my own powers. I in no wise mistake the import- 
ance of these doubts, especially at my age and in my 
circumstances. How I shall solve the problem of life 
depends chiefly on their right or wrong solution, and 
therefore, as long as they are still unsettled, every im- 
pulse from without is of infinite moment to the whole 
inner life and aspiration. You could neither be aware 
of the soil on which your words, perhaps but carelessly 
meant, had fallen, nor still less of the connection in 
which they stand with my own inclinations and mental 
tendency. It is not as if I had previously entertained 
the idea of attempting the deciphering of hieroglyphics ; 
rather, till now, I have been chiefly attracted towards 
archaeology and general comparative philology, upon 
the broader field of that science to which, in any case 
I had resolved to devote myself. Although these did not 
give me much prospect of an assured livelihood for the 
future, yet I wished to prosecute the two studies together 
in Paris, because they have so many points in com- 
mon, and indeed seem to me in their essential substance 
to form a more perfect whole. Then latterly I was led 
by chance to a subject which attracted me more the 
farther I pursued it, and at last prompted me to collect 
the results in a short treatise which I am about to have 


published in Berlin. This treatise is immediately con- 
cerned with palaeographic researches into Sanscrit 
writing, but I was soon led from the peculiarities of this 
writing, which in many respects is wonderfully conson- 
ant with nature, to more universal palaeographic laws. 
I found myself forced at last, by the subject itself, to 
express my views on the organic and essentially neces- 
sary connection between writing and language con- 
sidered in their broadest relation, and on the value of a 
scientific palaeography in the investigation of language. 
Indeed, I could not refrain, at the close, from referring 
to Egypt itself, where there seems to open such a splen- 
did and fertile field for this new science as never before 
in Europe, or even in Asia. Thus, on one hand, I am at- 
tracted by the idea of an Egyptian palaeography which 
cannot possibly be sought for except in accordance 
with the universal laws of writing and language, and 
therefore must be capable of rational scientific treat- 
ment. Yet, on the other hand, I cannot avoid noticing 
the special obstacles, of other than a scientific kind, 
which present themselves, and particularly the precari- 
ous direction which might be permanently given to my 
studies by an over-hasty decision. It is true that on 
this path also archaeology and comparative philology 
would be the guides and companions whom I should 
most desire. But in their Egyptian costume they would 
probably be still less able to secure me a settled posi- 
tion in life, than in their Greek and Roman dress, un- 
less, in that case, I might consider myself assured of 
substantial assistance from the government, and of a 


situation in the public service in case I succeeded in 
fulfilling all reasonable expectations. But if this were 
possible, and, above all, if I had become convinced by 
examination of the authorities hitherto accessible, and 
especially of Champollion's grammar, that the founda- 
tions had been so laid as to give hope of greater results 
to be attained by conscientious and scientific treatment, 
then I would gladly devote all my ability, time and 
energy to a subject, the advancement of which may 
rightly lay claim to the most universal interest, although 
the handling of it at present can only fall to the lot of a 
favored few." 

Bunsen sent an encouraging answer to this letter, 
which, like the diary and the letters to Father Lepsius, 
did not deviate by one hair's breadth from the true 
circumstances and inclination of the writer. After the 
young philologist and archaeologist had satisfied him- 
self that new researches might indeed be profitably 
based upon the preparatory work of Champollion, and 
that great results could perhaps be attained in the field 
of science thrown open by him, he decided thenceforth 
to devote himself with all his energy to the study of 

It is now time for us to cast a glance at this new 
science, and to point out how far it had progressed, at 
the time when Lepsius first commenced to devote him- 
self to it and to continue the labors of Champollion, 
who had died shortly before his arrival in Paris. 




Eor nearly fifteen hundred years all direct knowl- 
edge of the hieroglyphic writing of the ancient 
Egyptians had been lost, and nothing more was known 
of the monuments of the time of the Pharaohs than was 
incidentally mentioned by classic authors, or travellers 
who had visited the Orient. It is true that in Rome 
and Constantinople stood obelisks which had been 
transported to the imperial residences from the temples 
of the Nile, while mummies and smaller Egyptian relics 
were preserved as curiosities in the libraries and mu- 
seums of Europe. But the interest in the life of the 
ancient Egyptians, as well as in their art and science, 
which had enjoyed such a high degree of esteem 
amongst the Greeks, had been lost. And although, 
after the prime of the humanities had faded, an Athan- 
asius Kircher,* and after him other scholars such as the 
Dane Zoega or Barthelemy, ventured to attempt the 
deciphering of the inscriptions with which the Roman 
obelisks were covered, yet they were soon forced to de- 
sist from their fruitless endeavors, for want of any fixed 
basis from which they might have prosecuted their 
difficult operations with success. Then the First Con- 

* Died in 1680. 


sul of the French Republic, General Napoleon Bona- 
parte, undertook that adventurous march into Egypt 
by which he hoped to break up English influence on 
African soil, to cut off the nearest route to India from 
the British armies, and also to gather laurels for him- 
self. " For," he had said, " the greatest glory in the 
world is only to be won in the Orient." 

Every one knows the course of this campaign, 
which indeed ended in favor of England, but brought 
far greater fame to France than to her opponent. 
History does not forget such battles as that beneath the 
pyramids, and in the annals of science a place of honor 
will ever be accorded to the intellectual achievements 
of the French scholars who, during the end of the pre- 
vious and the beginning of our own century, followed 
the French armies amidst a thousand hardships, dan- 
gers, and adverse circumstances. It was by means of 
this expedition that the life of the old Egyptians was to 
celebrate its resurrection. No one in Europe had sus- 
pected what a wealth of monuments of the time of the 
Pharaohs had been preserved upon the Nile. People 
watched with astonishment the arrival in Paris of great 
folios full of superb drawings in which these were de- 
picted, and numerous volumes containing the descrip- 
tions of them. Excellent reproductions of both after- 
wards found their way all over the world. 

In 1799, in the course of excavations at the fort of 
St. Julienne at Rosetta, in the northern Delta, the 
French officer of engineers, Boussard, had found the 
remarkable tablet which was to become so famous 


under the name of the Rosetta stone. The fortunes of 
war carried this one monument alone, not to Paris, but 
to London, where it is worthily conserved in the British 
Museum. It contains a sacerdotal decree, which awards 
high honors to the fifth Ptolemy, Epiphanes, for his 
great worth, and the benefits which he conferred on the 
country. It is written in three different characters and 

Let us imagine, instead of the Egypt of that period, 
an Italian province of the Austrian monarchy, and let 
us suppose that the clergy of the place had drawn up a 
decree in honor of the imperial house ; this might per- 
haps be published in the old ecclesiastical language, 
Latin, in Italian, and in the German language of the 
ruling house and its officials. Precisely thus was the 
decree of Rosetta written ; first in the sacred language 
of the church, habitually rendered in the ancient hiero- 
glyphic character, and only employed in ecclesiastical 
writings, next in the dialect current among the people, 
the demotic, which was recorded in a special abbre- 
viated character in which the original form of the hiero- 
glyphics is no longer to be recognized, and finally in 
the Greek language and character of the Lagid ruling 
house and its functionaries. Thus the Rosetta stone 
offered for investigation three tolerably long texts, the 
first two of which had for foundation a dialect of the 
ancient Egyptian language. These were in the two 
kinds of writing, the distinction between which had al- 
ready been noted by the Greeks, (Herodotus, Diodorus, 
Clemens of Alexandria, etc.) and beneath them stood 


the Greek translation. In a special treatise,* to which 
the reader is referred, we have endeavored to show 
how two scholars, working independently, arrived 
simultaneously at the same result of correctly decipher- 
ing the principal hieroglyphic groups by a comparison 
of the names of the Ptolemy, of Cleopatra and of Alex- 
ander,** which were distinguished by being enclosed 
within elliptical ovals (cartouches), and appeared on 
the bi-lingual tablet in both hieroglyphic and Greek 
text. These two scholars were the gifted Frenchman, 
Champollion, and the Englishman, Thomas Young, an 
investigator of the first rank, whom difficulties served 
only to allure, and whose labors in the domain of 
physiology and optics would have assured him an im- 
mortal name. But Young arrived at results which 
were inaccurate in detail, chiefly by means of mechani- 
cal and arithmetical comparison, and then pursued his 
acquisitions no further, while Champollion applied all 
the energies of his lifetime to the prosecution and de- 
velopment of his epoch-making discovery. For this 
reason we ascribe it to him more willingly and with 
greater justice than to Thomas Young, who, however, 
undoubtedly presented his conclusions a little in ad- 
vance of Champollion. Each had arrived at his results 
quite independently of the other, but, from the first, 
Champollion's were the more correct, and what with 

* G. Ebers. On the Hieroglyphic System of Writing. Virchow 
und V. Holtzendorff'sche Sammlung von wissenschaftlichen Vor- 
trägen. 2. Aufl. Serie vi., No. 131. 

** The names of both of these sovereigns were found upon a 
second bi-lingual tablet, discovered on the island of Philae. 


Young remained a splendid but incomplete exploit of 
the most magnificent sagacity, was by the Frenchman 
prosecuted in the most brilliant manner, and reduced 
to a correct system which, taken as a whole, is still 
valid at the present day. The great master-pieces of 
Champollion, the Grammalre egyptienne, (1836-41), 
and the Dictionnaire egyptieji en ecriture hie'roglyphique, 
(1842-44), were first published after his death (1832), 
and subsequently to Lepsius' sojourn in Paris. They 
give an idea of the profound insight into the ancient 
Egyptian language which had been attained by this 
scholar who died so young. Had Fate granted him a 
longer life his great works would have gained im- 
mensely in value, for his brother, Champollion- 
Figeac, who had undertaken to edit a portion of the 
manuscripts* of the deceased, which filled two thou- 
sand pages, although he fulfilled the task conscien- 
tiously and gladly, was yet obliged to take in hand 
much that was only half completed, and did not prove 
entirely equal to the undertaking. 

It is true that Francois Champollion, in his Precis 
du Systeme hieroglyphique des anciens Egyptiens, (Paris, 
1824), had presented a scheme of the hieroglyphic 
system of writing which, in its general features, was 
correct. But this work, though extraordinary for that 
time, was somewhat of the nature of a sketch, and 
criticism could find in it sufficient grounds for enter- 
taining sundry doubts and scruples. Other scholars 

* They were bought by the Paris library for fifty thousand francs. 


especially, who likewise styled themselves Egyptolo- 
gists, attacked the system of Champollion, and brought 
forward other systems of their own in opposition to it. 
Amongst these guides to the labyrinth, whose errors 
have long since been refuted and lapsed into utter for- 
getfulness, SeyrTarth of Leipsic lifted his voice most 
loudly. Sickler, also, wished to explain the hiero- 
glyphics by paranomasia. He maintained that each 
one was intended to represent a whole series of words 
of similar sound. Klaproth adhered firmly to his acro- 
logical system, according to which each hieroglyphic 
could express all those Coptic words, that begin with 
the same sound with which the name of the hiero- 
glyphic begins. 

What was a critically trained linguist to think of a 
science which had not yet positively decided how to 
read or explain the characters of that writing, which it 
was incumbent upon it to interpret, and which could 
not even declare, with the concurrence of all its colla- 
borators, what language was the basis of the text which 
it nevertheless sought to translate and expound ? 

It is difficult to understand how, after the appear- 
ance of the Precis du Systeme hieroglyphique, these card- 
houses could have stood their ground for a single 
month beside the well-founded edifice of Champollion. 
But the more dubious the condition of affairs was with 
the authors of these false systems, the louder did they 
raise their voices, while Champollion, without regarding 
them, worked on with admirable tranquillity, and added 
stone after stone to his great construction. The prin- 


cipal parts of this he completed, but he was destined to 
bequeath it to posterity without roof or ornaments. 

At the time when Lepsius was invited to make the 
investigation of the ancient Egyptian the occupation of 
his life, he had heard as much in favor of Seyffarth, 
Klaproth and Sickler as of Champollion. From the 
beginning he placed greater confidence in the latter. 
Yet he did well to inform himself exactly as to the true 
state of Egyptology at that time before placing at its 
disposal his energy, his ability, and his time. He was 
of too prudent a disposition to embark for the journey 
through life on a paper boat. 

A deeper insight into the system of Champollion re- 
assured him, and soon led him to a decision. He 
might undertake the work with favorable expectations, 
for Lepsius could feel himself far superior in thorough- 
ness of preparation and synthetic acumen to those in- 
tellectual imitators of the giant Champollion, who, even 
during his lifetime, had ventured forth with their own 
works. We shall have to tell with what blunt sickles 
they destroyed the grain which they thought to reap. 
Destiny had forbidden the master to train up worthy 
disciples, for after the first professorship of Egyptology 
in the University of Paris had been conferred upon 
him, and when he had scarcely entered on his office as 
a teacher, the fine vigorous man of forty-one was over- 
taken by death. 

Prior to this, however, he had already found dis- 
ciples in Salvolini and Rosellini. The latter had fol- 
lowed him to Rome, Turin and Naples, after having 


taught at Pisa as Professor of Oriental Languages. The 
extraordinary talent of E. de Rouge was developed 
later. Birch in London and Leemans in Leyden were 
indeed his contemporaries, but should be called his suc- 
cessors, not his pupils, and published their first Egyp- 
tological works after his death, and after Lepsius had 
decided in favor of this science. 

When our friend entered the arena of Egyptological 
research the nature of the demotic writing was as yet 
entirely undetermined, for although the greatest Orien- 
talist of this century, Silvestre de Sacy, had addressed 
his attention to the demotic portion of the Rosetta 
stone, and it had been examined not only by Thomas 
Young, but also by the sagacious Swede, Akerblad, 
neither they nor Champollion had been able to come to 
any satisfactory understanding of it. Lepsius, also did 
little towards a more thorough comprehension of the 
nature of the demotic dialect and writing. It was H. 
Brugsch and E. Revillout who first discovered the sig- 
nificance of the demotic, and proved the importance of 
this " writing and language of the people " as a middle 
term between ancient Egyptian and Coptic. 

As far as this, (the Coptic), is concerned, it was the 
language used by the Egyptians in speaking and writ- 
ing, after the introduction of Christianity into Egypt. 
It was written in Greek letters, with some additional 
alphabetical characters for sounds which the Hellenic 
alphabet would not reproduce. It represents the most 
recent dialect of the Egyptians, replete with many bor- 
rowed and alien words from the Greek, and it succeeded 


the demotic as this sprang from the ancient Egyptian 
language which was written in hieroglyphics. As we 
possess many of the Scriptural books in Coptic transla- 
tions, and more recent Coptic manuscripts with an 
Arabic version in the margin, it is scarcely less intelli- 
gible for us than Greek and Arabic themselves. The 
church of the monophysitic Coptic Christians on the 
Nile employs it to-day in the liturgies according to 
which divine worship is conducted. The founder of a 
scientific knowledge of the Coptic language in Europe 
was the same Athanasius Kircher who attempted the 
deciphering of hieroglyphics without success. To him 
we are, however, indebted for the first Coptic vocabu- 
laries and essays at grammar, (these were taken from 
the Arabic, and written in Latin.) 

A succession of European scholars afterwards ex- 
tended and perfected his work, which, although funda- 
mental, was full of defects and errors. When Lepsius 
began the study of Coptic it had already been treated 
by Lacroze, Wilkins, Scholz, Woide, Tuki, Quatremere, 
and Zoega, in part grammatically, and in part lexico- 
graphically. Peyron's lexicon was also approaching 

No one had yet ventured to assign this language its 
proper scientific philological rank. Its three dialects 
had long been known, and not only Champollion, but 
SeyrTarth also, had made use of them in the interpreta- 
tion of the most ancient hieroglyphic words. 

There was no lack of Coptic manuscripts and 


books * in Paris, but there was a very obvious want of 
old Egyptian hieroglyphic writings, well published. The 
inscriptions ** reproduced in the great Description de 
PEgypte, had been copied previous to the deciphering 
of hieroglyphics. They had been transcribed at ran- 
dom, without accuracy or intelligence, and were useless 
for the philologist. Rosellini's work on monuments t 
was prepared as the combined result of the expedition 
sent to Egypt by France, under Champollion, and that 
sent by Tuscany under Rosellini. The publication of it 
had scarcely been commenced when Lepsius obeyed 
the summons of Bunsen. The same is true of Cham- 
pollion's Monuments de PEgypte, etc. 

In the following pages we shall have to show all 
that had been achieved by Egyptological research in 
the provinces of history and mythology, and what 
Lepsius found there, both to clear away, and to build 

* Lepsius used the Pentateuch, edited by Wilkins, for his first 
exercise book. 

** Published in the first edition, under the supervision of Jomard, 
1809-28. The second edition was edited by Pankouke, 1821-29. 

t In Rosellini's / Monumenti dell' Egitto e della Nzibia. Eight ■ 
volumes, with the addition of two folio volumes of colored plates, 
published at Pisa in 1832-44. The third folio volume was published 
after his death, (1843) in 1844; Champollion's Monuments de V Egypt e 
et de la NtiMe, four folio volumes, with four hundred and forty plates, 
was published in Paris, 1835-47, and Lepsius thus had the use of the 
first numbers. Rosellini's work on monuments, mentioned above, is 
divided into historical and private monuments, and those pertaining to 
religious worship. Champollion had originally wished to treat of the 
former, but, in consequence of his early death, the publication of them' 
fell to Rosellini. Champollion also saw only the first proofs of his 
own work on monuments. 



From the very first Lepsius devoted himself with 
ardent zeal and indefatigable industry to Egyptological 
studies. Before us lie the letters which he addressed at 
that time to his new patron and subsequent friend, 
Bunsen. They show with what benevolent, indeed 
fatherly, sympathy, the famous scholar and statesman 
watched the progress of his protege in the field to 
which he had invited and introduced him ; what pains 
he took to smooth the way for him both by word and 
deed, and how perfect was the understanding with 
which he followed the scientific efforts and achieve- 
ments of the new Egyptologist. Bunsen also exerted 
himself to assure the pecuniary position of the young 
scholar ; but as the emperor above the senate, so did 
Alexander von Humboldt stand above Bunsen. Where 
the influence of the latter proved insufficient, and his 
good wishes could not be carried into effect, it became 
necessary to appeal to the power and benevolence of 
the man of world-wide fame, who was always ready for 
vigorous action when it was a question of furthering im- 
portant scientific endeavors, or helping promising and 
able young scholars. As Lepsius in the first place was in- 
finitely indebted to Bunsen, so was he in the second 
instance to A. von Humboldt. It is singular how many 
of the later German masters of science, besides our 
friend, were aided by this great and truly humane man 


as by a Providence. He removed obstacles from their 
path, built bridges for them, and opened to them por- 
tals which no other hand than his was in a position to 

From the letters to Bunsen we learn that Lepsius at 
first was absorbed in Coptic, and, as might have been 
expected, as a comparative philologist. At the begin- 
ning he was discouraged by the entire linguistic isola- 
tion in which this interesting idiom stood, but he soon 
thought to detect a certain fundamental relationship 
between it and the Indo- Germanic and Semitic families 
of languages. On the twentieth of January, 1835, he 
already invited Bunsen to consider with him, in a quite 
superficial and cursory manner, the affixes of the pi'o- 
nomen personale, in Coptic and Hebrew, and the rela- 
tionship of the two formations.* 

He next exerted himself to place before the public 
a specimen of Coptic grammar. He wished to begin 
by publishing a comparative division, which should be 
chiefly based upon the pronominal stems, and should 
establish the basis upon which the Coptic language had 
developed. It was further intended to show what posi- 
tion this should hold among the better known tongues. 
He had taken the bull by the horns, and was soon to 
find that little could be accomplished by giving promi- 
nence to such similarity in the terminal suffixes as struck 
the eye, or by the comparison of Indo- Germanic and 

* As an example he adduces the scheme : 

Hebrew, jam — m — i jam — nu jam — ka 

Coptic, jom — i jom — n join — k 

my sea our sea M. thy sea, etc. 


Semitic numeral words with the Egyptian, between 
which also many confonnities existed. 

As the first results of these new studies there ap- 
peared two papers on the alphabet and numerical 
words, which were submitted to the Berlin Academy in 
1835, and were printed at the press of that learned in- 
stitution. The apothegm, that even the loftiest specu- 
lation only teaches us to comprehend what is already 
in existence, occurs in the first of these papers.* 

By means of this treatise the knowledge of the true 
principles of the most ancient alphabetical order was 
advanced by a long step, and what was new therein 
was combined with the most thorough regard for all 
that had been previously attained. 

In the second treatise** he considerably extended 

* On the Order and Relationship of the Semitic, Indian, Ancient 
Greek, Ancient Egyptian and Ethiopian Alphabets. Index of Works 
No. V. The history of the origin of this treatise is peculiar. At that 
time the Leipsic Egyptologist, Seyffarth, who, as we know, had ad- 
vanced a system of his own in opposition to that of Champollion, had 
brought out a publication which bore the strange title: "Our 
Alphabet a Representation of the Zodiac, with the Constellation of 
the Seven Planets, etc., etc. Probably according to the Observations 
of Noah himself. Eirst Foundation of a True Chronology and His- 
tory of the Civilization of All Nations." Leipsic, 1834. — As this 
work appeared to emanate from some other than the critical world in 
which Lepsius had become eminent, and as, strange to say, it had 
found advocates of repute, the young doctor felt himself bound to 
refute it duly. So he wrote a critique of it for the " Berliner Jahr- 
bücher, — partly also with a view to "presenting himself gradually 
before the public in his Coptic costume." "I do not expect," he 
writes, "to demolish the work — by which no honor could be won, — 
but to give a true explanation of our alphabetical system." As the 
"Jahrbücher" had meantime made use of another review, he struck 
out the portion of the dissertation which was directed against Seyf- 
farth, from that in which he "built up," submitted this latter to the 
Berlin Academy, and had it printed in their Transactions. 

** On the origin and relationship of the numerical words in the 
Coptic, Semitic, and Indo-Germanic Languages. Berlin, 1836. 
Index of Works, No. VI. 


previous investigations, and at the same time imposed 
upon himself voluntary restrictions which oner the 
most favorable testimony to his early acquired method 
and critical rigor. He would have been able to arrive 
at still more important results with the present knowl- 
edge of ancient Egyptian numerical words, and the 
numerical signs in hieratic and demotic. 

He never followed up " the manifest connection 
between the Semitic and the Egyptian-demotic alpha- 
bet " which he then thought to have discovered. We 
entertain no doubt that during his apprenticeship he 
took certain Parisian hieratic texts for demotic, and if 
this was the case, then at that time, with the intuition 
peculiar to him, he had already hit upon the truth 
which was established many decades later by de 
Rouge, Lenormant, and ourselves; namely, that the 
Semitic, and indeed, primarily, the Phoenician alphabet, 
must be traced back to the Egyptian hieratic. He 
also worked enthusiastically over the principles of 
sound in the Coptic. This language, which at first 
seemed to him quite "chaotic" on account of the 
" cumulative vowels " which it presents, became 
more attractive to him after he had learned, by com- 
parison of the manuscripts written in the different 
dialects to distinguish between them, and to penetrate 
more deeply into their wonderfully subtle syntactical 
construction. It was of great advantage to him in 
these studies that Peyron's Coptic Lexicon was pub- 
lished just at this time, and that he was able to procure 
each proof-sheet as it left the press. After he had 


obtained a good insight into the Coptic he ventured to 
attack the demotic and ancient Egyptian written in 
hieroglyphics. As, in the works then published on the 
ancient Egyptian language, deduction and hypothesis 
appeared far too much alike, he was extremely glad to 
receive the ready assistance of Salvolini, the disciple of 
Champollion mentioned above. This very talented 
Italian, under the direction of the master, Champollion, 
had occupied himself with Egyptology exclusively for 
ten years, and Lepsius was able to inspire him with 
such interest that he wrote to Bunsen of the young 
scholar in the warmest terms. But after Lepsius was 
permitted to examine the literary legacy of Champol- 
lion he perceived that Salvolini had secretly made 
reckless use of another's labors, and that precisely 
those things which the younger Egyptologist had 
considered the most important discoveries of Salvolini, 
had been made, not by him, but by the master, Cham- 

Biot's book* on the vague year of the Egyptians, 
which had been published shortly before, led Lepsius 
also to the study of the calendar and chronology of 
the Egyptians, and prompted him to make Bunsen 
fully acquainted with his views on the year of Sirius 
and the Sothiac cycle. He sent the work mentioned 
to his patron, and in consequence of a request made 
by him, furnished him with everything that appeared 
in Paris in the way of new literary productions. 

Bunsen meanwhile was solicitous for the material 

* Biot, Rechcrches sur I'annee vague des Egyptiens, Paris, 1831. 


welfare of his protege, and it is not a little to be 
ascribed to his and Gerhard's influence, — Boeckh too 
was a zealous advocate, — that the Academy of Sciences 
at Berlin awarded Lepsius five hundred thalers for his 
farther improvement in Egyptology, and that Gerhard, 
— although not officially, — could offer him the pros- 
pect of the same amount for a second year. 

Before this assistance had been promised him he 
had written to Bunsen : " It is easy to understand that 
there may be much opposition to furnishing aid for 
such a special object, as every one will not regard the 

importance of it in the same way but I am 

especially anxious because I have not yet been able to 
present to the Academy anything which could give me 
an ostensible claim to the assistance which I desire. 
On this account I have thought that it might be of 
advantage to my affairs if I should put in order and 
send to the Academy my treatise on numerical words 
and arithmetical figures. It seems to me that I have 
indisputably found the key to this interesting subject in 
the Egyptian figures and Coptic numeral words. If 
all this meets with your approval, I would first send 
this treatise to William von Humboldt, who is most 
interested in special investigations of this subject, and 
probably, also, in the method of treating it. The 
extremely friendly letter, and the favorable opinion 
(far beyond my expectations), which he sent me, when 
I forwarded to him my little pamphlet on Sanscrit 
paleography, have given me hopes of a kind reception 
from him." 


In fact, the treatise was despatched to Berlin, but 
when it arrived there William von Humboldt was no 
longer among the living, and it was with great difficulty 
that Lepsius was able to recover his manuscript. The 
Berlin Academy awarded him the sum mentioned with- 
out it, for they knew that the recipient was worthy, and 
that it would produce good fruit to science. 

" The death of William von Humboldt," Lepsius 
wrote to Bunsen on the thirtieth of April, 1835, "has 
greatly grieved me, as well on account of the personal 
kindness which he repeatedly manifested towards me, 
as on account of the irreparable loss which the science 
of language has suffered thereby. It was he especially 
by whom I most hoped to be understood in my philo- 
logical aims, and whose verdict I had always in mind 
throughout this last work. You must be aware that 
he leaves two works in manuscript, one on the Sanscrit 
languages of the Indian Islands, another on languages 
in general." 

The handsome stipend of the Berlin Academy 
smoothed Lepsius' way to Italy, whither Bunsen sum- 
moned him with ever increasing urgency. 

Up to that time, Panofka and de Witte, out of 
scientific enthusiasm, had taken charge of the editorial 
work for the Institute in Paris. When they retired, 
Bunsen appointed Lepsius in the place of de Witte, 
who initiated him into the business. After his prede- 
cessor had left Paris, Lepsius took charge, in his 
absence, of the printing of the annals of the Institute 
and of the correspondence. These affairs claimed a 


large portion of his time, and he would have gone 
immediately to Rome, the headquarters of the Institute, 
had he not felt that his work in Paris was not com- 
pleted as far as Coptic was concerned. He also 
devoted himself with special ardor to ancient Egyptian 
and hieroglyphics. In these he continued to profit by 
the assistance of Salvolini, whose rapidly progressing 
interpretation of the Rosetta stone interested him 
greatly. Yet Lepsius already began to feel a slight 
mistrust of him, especially on account of the unfavor- 
able manner in which he expressed himself regarding 
the industrious Egyptologist Rosellini, whom Cham- 
pollion had esteemed highly. From Bunsen, too, 
Lepsius had heard nothing but praise of the latter, 
and moreover, Rosellini's historical works served him 
as a starting point for his own chronological investiga- 
tions, which began to interest him the more, the better 
he succeeded in deciphering for himself the names of 
kings and little historical hieroglyphic texts. For the 
great rapidity and certainty of his progress he was 
indebted to the excellent linguistic training which he 
had enjoyed. He had already exercised his talent for 
deciphering in handling the Eugubian Tables. The 
critical method of his philological guides had so 
become a part of his flesh and blood, that Bunsen could 
justly describe him as safe against the danger of pub- 
lishing anything uncertain or untenable, or of announ- 
cing good results prematurely. 

Before Rosellini had become personally acquainted 
with Lepsius he magnanimously confided to the prom- 


ising new disciple of his science all of his notes that 
the latter desired to see, and gave him by letter what- 
ever explanations he wished. This he did in such an 
amiable manner that Lepsius wrote to Bimsen : " I 
have taken extraordinary pleasure in the inestimable 
liberality and courtesy of Rosellini. One meets with 
the contrary among the French scholars here. If the 
French were better etymologists they would perceive 
that in science as in life liberie and liberalite come from 
the same root." 

The letter which our friend sent to Bunsen on the 
twenty-fourth of June, 1835, as a draught of a paper 
to be addressed to the Berlin Academy of Sciences,* 
contains more detailed information as to the history of 
his first attempts in Egyptology while at Paris. With 
this communication he also submitted to the Academy 
the treatises mentioned above on numerical words and 
the oldest alphabetical systems (see page 81). The 
allowance of five hundred thalers which we mentioned 
was only granted for one year, but Boeckh had kindly 
prevented a motion that the stipend should be granted 
only once, from coming to a resolution. Thus Lepsius, 
who knew the state of affairs, wrote confidently to 
Bunsen : " I cannot think that the Academy will leave 
me in the lurch later, if, with God's help, I have made 
some progress in this fruitful science, and shown them 
that I am as good a husbandman as another with 
my plow and ox. Therefore I will henceforth specially 
aim to deserve the confidence of the Academy, and I 

* See appendix II. 


believe that I shall best compass this by keeping them 
informed of my operations on the field upon which I 
have entered." 

At that time there were, as we have already 
observed (See page 78), very few good inscriptions 
published, and in August he had already advanced so 
far in hieroglyphics that he was constantly looking 
about for new texts, in order to copy and afterwards 
study them. To attain the highest ends he felt that it 
was necessary to know and own all the inscriptions 
that had been preserved from the time of the Pharaohs. 
In Göttingen he had endeavored to obtain both 
material and intellectual possession of all the treasures 
of the plastic art of the ancients by making copies of 
them. Thus also in Paris he wished to acquaint him- 
self with all the monuments of the time of the Pharaohs 
which had reached that city, and either to transcribe 
the inscriptions upon them, to copy them by tracing, or 
to obtain them in the form of impressions taken on 
paper. Copies of such as were accessible had long 
lain in his portfolio, but he had heard that there was a 
magazine in which was stored, in utter confusion, a 
great abundance of Egyptian monuments, especially 
the larger ones. Yet it seemed impossible to obtain 
admission to these hidden treasures. " It is the 
universal complaint," writes Lepsius, " that Louis 
Philippe does nothing in any way for the monuments 
of antiquity, his taste is all for modern works of art, 
and he now employs all the artists and officers of the 
Museum on the historical picture gallery in Versailles. 


Just now, also, several guardians of the Louvre are 
occupied there, and therefore they represent that it is 
impossible to detail a guardian for me in the magazine." 
He impatiently awaited the decision from day to day, 
but it did not come ; indeed it was still withheld even 
after Herr von Werther, the Prussian Ambassador, had 
interposed on behalf of Lepsius, and had procured 
him permission to copy the Egyptian collection in the 
Musee Charles X. But this was of far less importance 
to Lepsius than what was hidden in the magazine, for 
there were all the sarcophagi and statues, and an 
exceedingly rich collection of stelae, besides a hundred 
and fourteen tablets of plaster casts from the walls of 
Karnak, and a great number of other matters. The 
time of his departure from Paris drew near, and it 
would have seemed almost intolerable to the ardent 
young investigator to leave France without having 
seen these extremely important monuments. Just then 
Alexander von Humboldt came to Paris, Lepsius com- 
plained to him of the difficulty, the most influential of 
all men of that time interceded for him, and he was 
immediately allowed access to the storehouse, at first 
with a guardian, but afterwards without one. 

Lepsius now spent the last weeks of his sojourn in 
Paris in taking the most careful paper impressions from 
all the monuments there. About fifty quires of blot- 
ting paper were soon consumed, and many a night of 
vigil did he spend in making fair copies of the descrip- 
tions of the monuments from which the impressions 
were taken, and of the results of his own measurements. 


These treasures, so laboriously acquired, were of great 
service to him later, and accompanied him from Rome 
to Berlin, where they now are. 

Furthermore, through Humboldt's mediation, he 
had an opportunity to inspect all the drawings and 
manuscripts of Champollion, and he found them " sur- 
prisingly copious and interesting." He was able to take 
the first of the forty numbers of Champollion's great 
work on monuments, ready printed, to Italy with him. 
Champollion's grammar was also soon to be published. 

Something had been neglected in regard to Lepsius* 
military obligations, which might have been momentous 
to the farther progress of the ardent investigator, but 
this oversight did him no injury either, in consequence 
of the warm commendation which Alexander von 
Humboldt had given him to the Governor of Mentz, 
General v. Muffling. It cannot now be ascertained on 
what grounds the robust and well developed young 
doctor was released from military service, but before us 
lies a letter written immediately after he had presented 
himself, which says, in reference to his military duties : 
" And now in Mentz I have been relieved of all farther 
anxiety in this respect." 

" In the latter part of my stay in Paris," he writes 
to Bunsen in the same letter, " I have learned to 
regard Barucchi, the director of the Turin Museum, as 
a very excellent and courteous man. He has promised 
me every possible facility and convenience in the Turin 
Museum for study, so that now I can go there with 
great confidence of good results." 


Gladly and hopefully he crossed Mont Cenis to 
Turin; and yet the parting from Paris had become 
hard for him. He had gained much there, and. 
acquired a fixed aim in life; there he had come to 
mature manhood, and his whole personality, as well as 
his scientific activity and solid abilities, had awakened 
the same good will on the Seine as previously in Ger- 
many, at Leipsic, Göttingen, and Berlin. And no 
wonder! For nature had endowed the youth, intel- 
lectually so highly gifted, with a tall and imposing 
figure, and crowned it with a head whose beauty was 
to outlast the years. The noble and sharply cut linea- 
ments of his countenance reflected the earnestness, the 
force, and the acuteness of his mind, and wherever he 
showed himself in the circle of the leading literati of 
Berlin, where there was no lack of impressive heads, 
all eyes were drawn to him, and even strangers were 
attracted to inquire about him. When his abundant 
hair had become snow-white he was one of the hand- 
somest of old men. He told us, in an hour of social 
relaxation, that he was once climbing one of the Swiss 
mountains in very hot weather — I believe it was the 
Faulhorn, — and had sat down near the summit, with 
dripping brow. A strange gentleman, who had joined 
him, had sunk down beside him, and had responded to 
his observation that it was frightfully hot : " You ought 
to be accustomed to that, Professor. When one has 
climbed the pyramids and made excavations in Ethiopia, 
as you have — ." Lepsius asked the stranger how he 
came to know him, and received from the other — as 


it turned out afterwards, a medical colleague from 
Heidelberg, — the answer, " How can one forget your 
medallion-countenance after once seeing it ?" 

His profile was, in truth, singularly fine. I, myself, 
first met Lepsius in his forty-ninth year, 1859, as 
his pupil, but the impression which he made on me at 
that time was such that I willingly credited the assur- 
ance of a Leipsic friend, whose parents' house Lepsius 
had frequented as a student, that he had been one of 
the handsomest young men of his day. The same 
bearing which he retained throughout his life, and 
which entirely corresponded to his essential nature, 
must also have been peculiar to him as a student. It 
was quiet, yet not stiff, well-bred, and equally appro- 
priate in all circumstances of life. Moreover, with all 
his industry and earnestness, he was at that time 
always glad to go into society, and he long preserved 
and cherished his musical gifts and pleasure in singing, 
as well as his fondness for chess. 



The route which Lepsius took to Rome was entirely 
determined by the Egyptological studies to which he 
had devoted himself with such great zeal and success 
during the latter part of the time in Paris. It led him 
first to Turin. 

There he might hope to find all that was best and 
of most importance, for the Egyptian museum at 
Turin is now, and was at that time, one of the largest 
and richest in the world, and so far exceeded Lepsius' 
expectations that instead of several weeks he allowed 
himself to be detained there for more than three 

On the twenty-fourth of February he wrote to 
Bunsen : "I have not thought it necessary to hurry, 
as Turin is without doubt the most important point of 
my journey as far as the collection of materials is con- 
cerned. One realizes this thrice as strongly when one 
has staid here awhile and become familiar with the situa- 
tion. I leave this excellent museum very unwillingly, 
but one would have to stay for years to exhaust it, and I 
do not think that I have employed my time ill. You will 
enjoy the rich harvest which I bring you from here. I 
have taken paper impressions of all the inscriptions 
engraved on hard stone; part of them with starch, 
which makes them indestructible. L'nfortunately, I 
could not continue my Parisian collection of a hundred 


and twenty stelae in the same way, for they were 
unnecessarily afraid here of injury to the limestone from 
the damp paper, so that the most important stelae and 
many other objects in limestone I have partly counter- 
drawn with pith paper and partly copied, and have 
done this to some extent in the colors, the value of 
which I first learned to appreciate properly here. The 
greater part of the time, though, I have spent upon the 
rich stores of papyrus, almost the whole of which, with 
all the important fragments of every kind, I have 
counterdrawn or copied. I have taken special pains 
with the large perfect ritual, which can be found here 
and nowhere else." He had not yet seen the stores of 
papyrus in London and Leyden. " It was a matter of 
special importance to me to possess some common 
basis for all the other fragments of the ritual (which 
are to be found everywhere; a portion of them are 
at Rome), for the special purpose of beginning an 
extensive collection of the different readings; very 
necessary for the study of hieroglyphics. Therefore, I 
have spared no pains to compare the whole Parisian 
papyrus, a copy of which I have, with that here. I 
have noted all the different readings, in the text as 
well as in the vignettes, and counterdrawn all that is 
lacking, which amounts to about twice as much as the 
Parisian copy. So that I now possess the most per- 
fect ritual, in a volume of more than sixty sheets of 
paper, of half- folio size, stitched together, besides the 
collation of the Parisian ritual, a preparatoty work 
which will be very valuable for future studies." 

ITALY. 95 

In fact all the material that he so laboriously 
acquired at Turin formed the foundation for his cele- 
brated edition of the Book of the Dead, of which we 
shall have to speak hereafter. Many historical dates, 
which are contained in the monuments preserved at 
Turin and the famous papyrus of the kings were also 
collected by him in 1836; yet he found, on his second 
journey to Turin in 1841, that in his first visit to the 
museum many of the treasures preserved there had 
been purposely withheld from him. 

From Turin he went to Pisa, partly to make the 
acquaintance of Rosellini, with whom he had long been 
in scientific correspondence, partly to study the monu- 
ments which the latter had brought with him, and the 
papyrus and other written records which were intrusted 
to the care of the Italian Egyptologist. 

" Rosellini," he writes on the twentieth of March, 
1836, " received me very cordially, and I find myself 
well off in this excellent family, where I spend the 
whole day, from nine o'clock in the morning till nine 
at night." The monuments here had less to offer him, 
" but so much the more do I learn," he writes, " from 
Rosellini's Lexicon of Hieroglyphics. This also con- 
tains the accumulations of Champollion, and I shall 
copy it out in full. Besides this, I derive great benefit 
from the oral instruction and communications, which 
Rosellini gives me on all possible subjects without the 
least reservation. I quickly perceived, that I should 
not be able to leave this place as soon as I had 
expected." The following verses, with which he took 


leave of the Rosellinis, may show how intimate the 
relation had become between the young German and 
the family of the Italian scholar : 

From the South to the South 

I am driven away ; 
From the North to the South — 

Yet fain would I stay. 

From country to country, 
From dome unto dome ; 

From Strasburg to Pisa, 
From Pisa to Rome. 

Wert thou in the South land, 
Thou home of my heart, 

No farther I'd wander, 
I'd never depart. 

Yet linger I may not, 

And so I prepare 
In my heart a warm shelter, 

And cherish thee there. 

Then when farther I'm roaming 

I'll hear thee with me, 
And Heaven, protecting, 

Will guard me with thee. 

Pisa, April 19, 1836. 

After Pisa he visited Leghorn, where was lodged 
the Drovetti collection, which was afterwards purchased 

ITALY. 97 

for the Berlin Museum, by the special advice of Lepsius. 
The owner had asked sixty thousand francs, and got 
thirty thousand. Amongst the monuments was the 
Colossus of Rameses II, and the valuable fragment of 
the statue of Usurtasen I. (throne and legs). This is 
now restored and is the great ornament of the Egyptian 
collection in the capital city of the empire. It may be 
seen, from a letter "which Lepsius wrote to Bunsen 
about the collection, that the fragment of the statue of 
Usurtasen I. had only been brought to Europe by 
Drovetti in order to restore with it the slightly injured 
colossus of the same king. The fragment consisted of 
the same " black granite " (properly graywacke) as the 
better preserved statue of Rameses II. 

In May, 1836, Lepsius at last arrived in Rome, 
richly laden with treasures. There, for the first time, 
he met Charles J. Bunsen, who had directed his atten- 
tion towards Egyptian antiquity, and had assisted him 
with fatherly kindness during his residence in Paris. 
Bunsen was at that time living on the Tiber as Prussian 
Ambassador, under the title of Minister Resident. He 
presided as chief secretary over the Archaeological 
Institute, which had been founded by Gerhard, with 
his assistance, in 1829. Ten years before the arrival 
of Lepsius, Champollion had visited Rome, and found 
there an enthusiastic admirer and disciple in Bunsen. 
Absorbed in numerous affairs, and in other branches of 
research,* the latter could devote but a small portion 

* The three volumes of his " Description of the City of Rome" 
were published from 1830-43; his " Basilicas of Christian Rome" in 


of his time to Egyptological studies. In Lepsius he 
believed that he had found the right man to continue 
the work of Champollion with greater success, and in 
a more profound and independent spirit, than the Mas- 
ter's two disciples, Salvolini and Rosellini. He also 
hoped that Lepsius would be specially fitted to take 
charge of the business of recording secretary of the 
Institute in conjunction with Braun. For this he had 
already proved his ability in Paris. 

The affairs of this learned society were at that time 
in a very bad condition. The most necessary pecuniary 
means were wanting, differences of opinion, which 
seemed entirely irreconcilable, divided the Parisian and 
the Roman- Prussian sections, and indeed there was 
serious question as to the continued existence of this 
beneficient Institute. But, as Michaelis, its historiogra- 
pher, expresses himself, " Danger stimulated Bunsen's 
elastic spirit," and at the right moment Lepsius, to- 
gether with Braun, " who was delighted with his expert 
colleague," stepped into the breach. We will not say 
that it was Lepsius alone who averted the threatened 
danger, but it is certainly to be partly ascribed to his 
^warm personal relations with Panofka, de Witte, and 
the noble Due de Luynes, who was so influential in 
France, that the relations of the society to Paris, and 
its affairs in general, improved soon after his partici- 
pation in the management. What impression he made 
on his appearance in Rome may be shown by the fol- 
lowing passage from a letter which Bunsen's wife wrote 
to her mother on the twelfth of May, 1856 : " Lepsius," 

ITALY. 99 

says this estimable lady, " has been here since Monday. 
He makes a very pleasant impression in regard to 
character as well as talents; in short, he fulfills the 
expectations roused by his letters, which were clear, 
upright, intelligent, copious, but not excessive. He 
has naturally, refined manners, but no stiffness, and is 
neither presuming nor shy. It is incredible, what 
material he has collected for his study of Egyptian 
antiquities, and his drawings are wonderfully executed. 
You can fancy that Charles (Bunsen) is delighted to 
talk of hieroglyphics with him; yet it does not make 
him idle, — he is busily occupied the whole day, and 
only at meal times and in the evenings does he enjoy 
such a great pleasure." 

At that time Bunsen was already contemplating the 
execution of his great work " The Place of Egypt in 
the History of the World," and from the first was dis- 
posed to confide many of the special researches for it 
to Lepsius. Soon, however, (indeed long before his 
recall from Rome), he felt inclined to offer him the 
honor of being his collaborator. " Bunsen and Lepsius " 
were to appear upon the title-page as the authors ; and 
if the elder scholar and statesmen furnished the great 
leading ideas, the young doctor, with bee-like industry, 
collected everything in Rome .that might prove useful 
for the details of the work. 

Bunsen knew how to value the labors of the new 
member of the board of directors and editing secretary 
of the Institute, and Lepsius soon felt at home in the 
inspiring atmosphere of his house. 


The Ambassador and Gerhard both successfully 
exerted their influence in Berlin to induce the Academy, 
which was already well disposed towards the first 
critically trained German Egyptologist, to grant him 
additional assistance. It would be impossible to imagine 
help more energetic, more disinterested, or more 
efficacious, than that which Lepsius thus received from 
Bimsen. The hundreds of letters before us, addressed 
by the former to his patron, show how the relation 
between them became continually more intimate and 
cordial. The superscription changes by degress from 
u Highly Honored Herr Minister," to " Dearest Herr 
Privy Counselor," " My Dear, Fatherly Friend," and 
finally, " Most Highly Esteemed Friend." When the 
young scholar writes to his beloved patron on special 
occasions, his letters, usually calm and confined to the 
matter in hand, acquire a heartiness and warmth other- 
wise alien to them. He once wrote to Bunsen on his 
birthday (1839) : " My heartiest thanks for your splen- 
did letter of August twenty-second, and for the delight- 
ful lines which I received yesterday. May the Lord 
grant you his most abundant blessing in the new year 
of your life just beginning, as in all that follow, and 
preserve to me your fatherly affection, which has already 
so often strengthened, encouraged, and refreshed me. I 
have far greater need of you, and am more dependent 
on you than it may appear to you. I feel it with every 
sheet that I receive from your hand, and that surprises 
me unawares in my disposition to triviality, timidity, 
and every sort of narrow-mindedness. Your words, 

even the most unimportant, fall like pearls upon my 
poverty, and I feed upon them from one letter to 

With what sincerity these ardent phrases were meant 
is evident from Lepsius' letters to his father and 
mother, in which he always speaks of Bunsen with 
enthusiasm and child-like affection. 

Even in after years Lepsius' eye would still kindle, 
his measured speech grow fervent, when he recalled 
Charles Bunsen, the inexhaustible wealth of his ideas, 
the depth of his knowledge, the purity of his character, 
and the friendship which united the statesman and 
investigator, though twenty years the older, with the 
aspiring scholar ; which only gained in strength from 
year to year, survived the death of the one, and was 
borne to the grave with the other. 

Bunsen had the advantage of Lepsius in a rich, 
poetic, soaring imagination, otherwise they had many 
great qualities in common. 

Frederick William IV. had honored Bunsen with 
the title of baron. Apart from this, however, he, like 
Lepsius, deserves to be designated as a genuine noble 
German freeman ; that is, a man of unalterable intrinsic 
superiority, who derives the right to carry his head 
loftily, not from external circumstances, but from 
honest, indefatigable, difficult, and conscientious work. 
To such labor they both remained faithful through 
all the circumstances of life, and when we see the 
leaders of a turbulent party claiming the name of 
" workman " exclusively for the man with horny hands, 


and exerting themselves to restrict within the narrowest 
limits the hours of employment for the day laborer, 
we would point to these two men, who free from every 
material solicitude of life, turned their nights into day, 
bade defiance to bodily fatigue, and only sought 
refreshment in change of occupation, in order to fit 
themselves for the exalted enterprise which they had 
imposed upon themselves. 

His first purely Egyptological paper presents the 
most brilliant evidence of the zeal and sagacity with, 
which Lepsius, from the beginning, devoted himself to 
the study of the Egyptian writing and language. It 
appeared in the annals of the Roman Archaeological 
Institute, in the shape of a letter to his Pisan friend, 
Rosellini,* and ranks among model works of this kind 
on account of its wonderful succinctness, clearness and 
comprehensiveness. Lepsius gives in it a complete 
summary of the whole system of writing of the ancient 
Egyptians. He distinguishes, with clearness and. 
acuteness, the elements of which this is composed, and 
from the Master's list of sound symbols, which was 
much too large, he singles out those elements which 
do not properly belong there, and fortunately rejects 
one of the fundamental errors of Champollion's system. 
As we now know, the phonetic part of hieroglyphics, 
that is the part relating to sounds, consists simply of 
letters which were sounded, — our matres lectionis, — 
and syllabic signs. These by themselves alone can 

* Lettre ä M. le Professeur Hippolyte Rosellini stir V alphabet 
hieroglyphiqiie. Rome, 1837. Index of Works. No. XIII. 

ITALY. 10$ 

represent a syllable. Thus, the mere picture of a 
mirror is to be read ' anch] but to this picture may also 
pertain all the sounds of the syllable which it repre- 
sents : thus, in our case, an ' a, n, and ch' Cham- 
pollion, on the contrary, had known nothing of syllabic 
symbols, and thus regarded the mirror as a mere 
abbreviation of the word ' anch] which he had also met 
with written out in full. 

This error was done away with by Lepsius,* and 
through him that immensely important element of 
writing, the syllabic symbol, received its due. The 
observations contained in this treatise on the relation 
of Coptic (See page 76) to ancient Egyptian, are also, 
of fundamental value. 

Lepsius' letter to Rosellini gives a critical recapitu- 
lation of the discoveries of the Master. It is the first 
really methodical and scientific work of an adherent of 
the Champollionic system, and although after this 
Lepsius only returned incidentally to the linguistic and 
grammatical side of Egyptology,** yet in this work, as 
everywhere where he planted the lever, he has pointed 
out the right way and method. In the Nubian Gram- 
mar, which was one of the chief works of his life, and 

If the Egyptologist Seyffarth, mentioned on page 74, claims 
the merit of having first recognized the syllabic symbols as such, in 
order afterwards to construct in their favor a perverted system, in 
which they play a far more prominent part than belongs to them, it 
is true that priority of discovery cannot be denied to him. But 
Lepsius immediately accorded to the syllabic symbols their proper 
place and (as the whole construction of his system proves), quite 
independently of others. 

** On some Syntactical Points of the Hieroglyphic Language.. 
1846. Index of Works, No. XLII a. 


which was completed at a late date, he showed how 
firmly he stood upon the grammatical foundation so 
early won, and how faithful he remained thenceforth to 
grammatical studies. He did not cease, too, to work 
at those studies, regarding the sounds of languages and 
the alphabet, to which he had early devoted himself. 
His " Standard Alphabet,"* which originated long 
afterwards and amidst great opposition, was intended 
chiefly to enable missionaries and travellers to repro- 
duce correctly in our own language the sounds of the 
foreign tongues examined by them. This was to be 
•done by means of letters, easily and conveniently 
modified by dashes and dots. It became of great 
practical importance, as it was adopted by the English 
" Church Missionary Society " as the most available 
universal alphabet to be employed, according to their 
directions, by their emissaries. No one can deny that 
it is also of scientific value. Its applicability has been 
specially proved with the African languages, and in 
this department it has been most successfully employed 
in a great number of grammatical and lexicographical 
works, as well as biblical translations and the repro- 
duction of narrations, legends, and proverbs in the 
various idioms. Of the Hamitic branch of the African 
languages, which is distinguished by grammatical 
genders, there are seven side-branches, from the ancient 
Egyptian to the Ifaüsa- and JVama-(JVamaqua-) lan- 

* London and Berlin, 1863. Index of Works, No. LXXIV., 
and also Nos. LIX., LXXV., LXX., LXXI., LXXIa, LXXIII., 
LXXIL, XCL. XCVIII., which all contain dissertations on lan- 
guage, and chiefly on the alphabet. 

ITALY. 105 

guages, which have been thus examined. Of the more 
remote native African idioms there are not less than 
twenty-two. In 1874, during the Congress of Oriental- 
ists at London, we ourselves were permitted to hold 
council with him and other leaders of science, concern- 
ing an acceptable universal method of transcription for 
hieroglyphic writing. Many of his propositions were 
adopted at that time, but the method of transcription 
agreed on in the British Museum did not become 
current, and it is undoubtedly in need of much improve- 

Lepsius had already given particular attention to 
the two special departments in which he was to achieve 
the greatest and most fruitful results ; first at Göttingen, 
under the superintendence of O. Müller, then in Paris 
after the publication of Biot's work, and finally at 
Rome, in the company of Bunsen. These departments 
were first, history, with its numerical groundwork of 
chronology, and in the second place, mythology. 

Here, everything was still to be achieved, for before 
the hieroglyphics had been deciphered, scholars had 
been obliged to depend solely upon Grecian accounts 
of the Egyptian kings and gods, especially upon those 
given by Herodotus, and therefore had often relied on 
reports which were most inadequate, and which in 
many cases were misunderstood. The power recently 
acquired of reading the writing of the Egyptians dis- 
closed a wealth of original material, which was unex- 
pected, new, and authentic. The incontrovertible im- 
portance of this was self-evident, and even during 


Champollion's lifetime many rushed upon the freshly 
discovered mines, and sought to rifle them for historical 
and mythological purposes. But, although at the out- 
set many mistakes and uncertainties were rectified, and 
much that was incontestably new was established, yet 
on the other hand, error after error was introduced into 
the science by the rash course of the immediate suc- 
cessors of Champollion. They received on faith that 
which they only half comprehended, and applied it 
without care or criticism. They instituted comparisons 
upon bases either false or insufficiently established, and 
by means of them arrived at conclusions that we can 
now only regard with scorn and dismay. In place of the 
imperfect knowledge of former time, there appeared as 
its evil successor a disorder without parallel. The 
grateful, but difficult task undertaken by Lepsius, was 
to clear this away, and compel Egyptological research 
to conform to the same critical method which has 
become obligatory for other branches of study, and 
without which there can be no soundness in science. 

Out of vague and unregulated fancies concerning 
Egyptian history and mythology, he formed a true 
Egyptian history and science of Egyptian divinities. 
By his strong hand were restrained the more or less 
ingenious and active divagations of Champollion's suc- 
cessors, and he pointed out the path by which alone 
Egyptology could succeed in winning the name of a 

His course was at the same time bold, prudent, and 
dexterous. He considered the whole extent of the 


monumental material collected by himself, or otherwise 
attainable, separated it into groups, sifted these, and 
treated the essential constituents which he thus, 
extracted according to the same critical method to 
which he had become accustomed in other departments 
of science, under the tutelage of Hermann, Dissen, 
Müller, Bopp, Lachmann, and Boeckh. 

After his journey to England and Holland, of 
which we shall soon have to speak, he possessed a sov- 
ereign comprehensive view of all of the written relics 
of the Egyptians to be found in Europe. But he 
carefully guarded himself against drawing conclusions 
from them which had not been thoroughly worked out, 
or from using them, like many other followers of 
Champollion, in the building of card houses. 

In the historical group of his collectanea, which 
were arranged with the orderliness peculiar to himself, 
he brought together all the kings' names which it was 
possible to obtain, and all texts provided with dates, as 
well as all writings on stone or papyrus which con- 
cerned the genealogical relations of the Pharaonic 
families. Thus, too, during his sojourn at Rome we 
see him chiefly occupied in collecting the building 
stones only for that chronological-historical edifice to 
be reared in more tranquil days, and which he expected 
to erect in common with Bunsen. 

This self-control was to be well rewarded, for on 
his first and most important expedition to Egypt there 
flowed in upon him an affluence of new material, 
especially regarding the earliest epoch of Pharaonic 


history, which supplemented and in many ways modi- 
fied that previously obtained. We can now take a 
comprehensive view of all the acquisitions of that time, 
and if we compare them with the two folio volumes of 
his Book of Kings,* or rather with the first draught of 
the same as he completed it in 1842, we must be 
astonished at the wealth of material which he had col- 
lected by the close of his sojourn upon the Tiber. 
The work mentioned contains in its present form all 
the names of the Pharaohs which have been preserved 
on monuments or papyrus, and is an indispensable 
handbook to anyone occupied in the study of Egyptian 
history. Its accuracy is equal to its copiousness, in 
which it had of course gained immensely, compared to 
the first sketch, which he willingly and frequently 
showed us. 

The production of a new book of this kind could 
only mean the giving of a new title to Lepsius' Book 
of Kings, for the arrangement of this great work is so 
fine and faultless that a change could but injure it. If 
we regard the first draft of the Book of Kings, which 
was completed before the Egyptian journey (it was 
never printed), as the foundation of Lepsius' later 
chronological labors, we must acknowledge that at that 
time it would have been entirely impossible to add any- 
anything new to what was there collected. 

It is with such weapons as these that victories are 
won, but he who had forged them imposed upon him- 

* The Book of Kings of the Ancient Egyptians. Index of 
Works. No. LXVI. 

ITALY. 109 

self one preparatory labor after another before he 
entered upon the combat, and used them for the great 
historical purposes which he had in view. 

In Turin he had also laid the foundations for his 
later researches in mythology, especially that of the 
ancient Egyptians, and in this group of studies we see 
him proceed with exactly the same method and circum- 
spection as in his chronological works. His prede- 
cessors had found the innumerable and motley figures 
of the Egyptian Pantheon, often accompanied by then- 
names, portrayed upon monuments of stone and 
papyrus, and had compared them with those divine 
beings of the Egyptians mentioned by the classic 
writers. They had attempted to explain the signifi- 
cance of these figures, and in so doing, where the 
sources of information at their command would not 
serve them, they had given free play to their imagina- 
tions, — it is only necessary to remember the ingenious 
phantasies of Creuzer, Roth, etc. The gods throng 
through their writings in a wild confusion, and it had 
occurred to no one, not even to Champollion (whose 
Pantheon egyptien* must nevertheless always be char- 
acterized as a valuable preparatory work), to proceed 
to an organization of the great crowd of gods, and to 
point out the historical principle by which they were 
to be classified. 

This task Lepsius imposed upon himself, but here 
too, during his stay in Italy, he contented himself with 

* F. Champollion. Pantheon Egypt ien. Collection des personnages 
mythologiques de I ' ancienne Egypt e. Paris, 1826. 


sifting and studying all the materials at hand, and we 
are enabled to take a survey of his introductory labors 
in this province also. During his first sojourn in 
Turin he had already discerned that innumerable 
religious texts, existing in all the museums, on papy- 
rus rolls, sarcophagi, mummy cloths, amulets, etc., 
belonged collectively to a larger work, to which he 
gave the name of " Book of the Dead." This 
work, composed from many fragments, never reached a 
canonical conclusion, but the larger specimens of it 
included all the chapters which occurred alone, or in 
lesser number, on smaller papyri or monuments. 
Lepsius recognized the true significance of this book, 
which Champollion erroneously considered a book of 
ritual {ritnel funeraire), that is, a book which comprised 
the prayers and formulas to be repeated and the hymns 
to be sung at the burial of the dead. It was usually 
found on the body of the deceased, under the mummy 
cloths, or in the coffin, and its contents only referred 
incidentally, and to a certain extent in a recapitulatory 
manner to transactions which were to take place on 
earth. The destiny of the soul which sprang from 
Osiris resembled the destiny of the god himself, and it 
is with this destiny that the " Book of the Dead " is 
occupied. It was given to the departed to carry with 
him into the grave as a passport and aid to memory. 
For in the other world it was necessary to sing hymns 
of praise, and with the help of the "right word," 
which they imagined as endowed with magic power, to 
ward off demons and hostile beasts, to open gates, to 


procure food and drink, to justify oneself before Osiris 
and the forty-two judges, and finally to secure for the 
deceased all his claims as a god. Everything depended 
on being acquainted with the magical " right word," 
and in order that it should always be at the command 
of the traveller through the next world, it was first 
written on the sarcophagus and then on the grave- 
clothes. From the collection of these formulas, then, 
arose the " Book of the Dead," the vade mecum, the 
cicerone, for the pilgrim through the mysteries of the 
other life. 

After the dead had received back all the faculties 
of the body which he possessed on earth, and when, 
after the justification in the hall of judgment, he had 
also received his heart, he advanced from portal to 
portal, and from degree to degre, until he had attained 
his final goal, apotheosis. In this last stage the pure 
spirit of light was freed from all the dust of this life; 
and then, being one with the sun-god Ra, as a shining 
day-star, he crossed the heavens in a golden bark, and 
received, himself a god, the attributes and the reverence 
of gods and the homage of men. Endowed with the 
power of clothing himself at will in any form he 
desired, he was permitted by day or night to sail 
through the firmament as sun or star in divine light, to 
mix with mortals upon earth, to soar through the air as 
a bird, or as a lotos flower, blooming beautifully, to 
repose in serene blessedness and breathe forth perfume. 

As might be expected from what has already been 
said, in this book are to be found the elements of the 


Egyptian religious belief and doctrine of immortality. 
Although these are difficult to understand on account 
of the inflated mode of expression, as well as the con- 
fused superabundance of symbols, allegories, metaphors, 
and illustrations (unfortunately, these obscure the sense 
far more frequently than they elucidate it), and 
although much of it must have been misunderstood by 
Lepsius at the age of thirty, yet it could not escape 
him that a searching study of this fundamental book 
must precede any critical treatment of Egyptian mythol- 
ogy. On this account, as we know, in 1836 he made a 
copy of the large and very perfect hieroglyphic speci- 
men of the " Book of the Dead," and amended it during 
a second sojourn in Turin in 184 1. In the year 1842, 
as we shall see, he published* the great roll of papyrus, 
fifty-seven feet and three inches long. The seventy- 
nine tablets contained in this fine publication were 
transferred to the stone by the careful and skillful 
designer and lithographer, Max Weidenbach, a Naum- 
burg fellow-countryman of Lepsius. This man, as well 
as his no less skillful brother, certainly deserves mention 
here, for under the direction of Lepsius they both suc- 
ceeded in mastering Egyptian writing so thoroughly 
that their hieroglyphic manuscript was in no respect 
inferior to that of the best hierogrammatists of the time 
of the Pharaohs. It is to them that the publications 
of Lepsius owe the rare purity of style which dis- 
tinguishes them, and we are indebted above all to the 
delicate apprehension and the skillful hand of the 

* Index of Works. No. XXXI. 

ITALY. 113 

brothers Weidenbach that the hieroglyphic types which 
were restored for the Berlin Academy under the super- 
intendence of Lepsius, turned out to be such models 
of beauty and style, that they are at present universally 
employed. Even in Paris the types produced in the 
French government printing office were set aside in 
their favor. 

If at the present day we critically consider Lepsius* 
edition of the " Book of the Dead," we must certainly 
regret that it had for a basis the Turin copy, which is 
replete with errors of writing and defects arising from 
hasty work, and which dates from a comparatively* late 
period. But, on the other hand, we must praise the 
industry, care and ability with which its editor studied 
the text before the excellent k ' preface " was written and 
the distribution of the whole into chapters was accom- 
plished. This distribution has stood till the present 
day, and when we now speak of the first, seventeenth 
and hundred and twenty-fifth chapters as the most 
important sections of the " Book of the Dead,"- in so 
doing we follow the construction given by Lepsius. In 
a few months there will be published a collection of 
the finest texts of the " Book of the Dead" from the best 
period, prepared by the excellent Genoese Egyptolo- 
gist, E. Naville, under the auspices of the Berlin 
Academy. It was Lepsius, again, who gave the im- 
pulse to this great and useful undertaking at the 
Oriental Congress in London, 1874; and even in this 
most recent edition of the " Book of the Dead " * the 

* Index of Works. Nos. CXII and CXXXII. 



classification given by him will be preserved. It is 
precisely this which is wonderful and unique in his 
works ; that they are of lasting stability, and that their 
substructure remains permanently fixed no matter what 
alterations may be made in details by more recent 
acquisitions. There is almost no edifice in the whole 
domain of Egyptology where the foundation stone 
does not bear the name of " Lepsius." 

Let us here anticipate by mentioning that through- 
out his life Lepsius did not cease to busy himself with 
the " Book of the Dead," and that even in 1867, in a 
large and excellent work,* he made an effort to trace 
out the origin of the whole work collectively, and of 
its principal parts. The sarcophagi of the ancient 
kingdom and the funereal texts which cover them, con- 
stitute the foundation of this important publication, 
which once more points out the path for research, and 
upon which many special investigations have already 
been, and in the future must be, based. 

After his sojourn in Egypt, Lepsius was able for the 
first time to bring to a positive conclusion the studies 
on Egyptian mythology, which he had begun in Italy. 
Yet he wrote to Bunsen from Thebes that he had 
almost despaired of any real progress in the field of 
mythology, and had only collected the materials in 
obedience to a blind instinct. " Now," he continues, 
" I have found the red thread, which will lead through 
this apparently endless labyrinth. I have made out 

* The oldest texts of the Book of the Dead. Berlin, 1867. 
Index of Works, No. XCV. 

the divinities, great and small, and also the most 
important data for the history of Egyptian mythology. 
The relation between the Greek accounts and the 
monuments has become clear to me ; in short, I know 
that an Egyptian mythology really can be written." 

That which he found in Thebes he combined, at a 
comparatively late date, with what he had gained in 
Italy, and the results of all these collections, studies, 
and combinations were finally accumulated in his 
epoch-producing work on the first Egyptian Pan- 
theon.* This proves that even with the motley swarm 
of Egyptian Gods it is possible to follow the historical 
principle of classification. Lepsius was the first, not 
only to discover and more nearly determine the " group 
of the superior gods," but also to establish clearly the 
reasons why the adored beings of whom it consists are 
associated together. Where variations occurred he 
explained their origin from local or temporal causes in 
a convincing manner. His conjectures as to the age 
of the Osiris myth have been confirmed by the inscrip- 
tions in the lately opened pyramids. 

In his treatise on the gods of the four elements** 
there is much with which we cannot now agree. Con- 
trary to his opinion their names occur much earlier 
than the time of the Ptolemies. But in spite of this 
and other errors the paper stands, as far as method is 
concerned, on an equal footing with its predecessors, 
and it is here that he has summed up in a brief phrase 

* Berlin, 1851. Index of Works, No. XLVII. 

* Berlin, 1856. Index of Works, No. LXI. 


the rule which he steadfastly obeyed during his long 
and active scientific career : " In all antiquarian 
investigations it will always be safest to begin with a 
chronological analysis of the material, before proceed- 
ing to a systematic arrangement thereof." 

Lepsius also adhered firmly to this rule when he 
entered upon that department of his science towards 
which at Rome he was impelled, not only by the 
influence of the Archaeological Institute to which he 
belonged, but by the tendency of his whole life. He 
there turned his attention to the art of the ancient 
Egyptians, and chiefly to their architecture. In his 
parents' house at Naumburg he had seen the preference 
with which his father cultivated this branch of art ; on 
all his journeys he filled his note-book with observa- 
tions on the remarkable buildings which he encountered, 
and accompanied them with little drawings. We know 
how eagerly, particularly at Göttingen, he had followed 
the progress of the archaeology of art, which was 
greatly promoted at that time by the influence of 
Winckelmann. The air of Rome, too, was as thoroughly 
permeated with art then as it is now, and with even 
more enthusiastic artistic interests. There all conver- 
sation between aspiring friends so easily took, as it still 
takes, the form of a conversation on art. So that 
Lepsius, as well as Bunsen, who a few years later was 
to publish his celebrated work on Christian basilicas, 
felt the liveliest interest in these subjects and 
was forced by an inherent necessity to give special 
attention to the remarkable art of that people to whose 



resurrection he had pledged the best powers of his 

In 1838, then, there appeared Lepsius' dissertation 
on the columns of the ancient Egyptians, and their 
connection with the Grecian columns.* When we 
designate this work also, which lay outside of the 
master's special field of research, as original, and un- 
surpassed of its kind, in so doing we are in no wise 
** burning incense to our dead " but simply judging it 
as it deserves to be rated. Here, as elsewhere, Lepsius 
applies the law quoted above, by dividing chronologic- 
ally the material which he has first thoroughly col- 
lected, and pointing out how the Egyptian columns 
arose from their original beginnings and developed 
themselves independently, here in cave-building, and 
there in open-air edifices ; — he scrupulously maintains 
the division between the two. This classification alone 
is a real achievement, and any one who follows the 
progress of cave-building step by step with him, will 
see the Doric column with all its component parts 
develop organically before him. Even he who, out of 
regard for the omnipotence of the genius of Hellenic 
art, is averse to considering the Doric column as an 
architectural constituent borrowed by the Greeks from 
the Egyptians, will not be able to deny that the trans- 
formation of the pillar in the so-called proto-Doric 
column of the Egyptian cave-architecture (first and 
chiefly in the vaults of Beni Hassan), can be proved to 

* Sur l' ordre des colonnes pillers en Egypte, etc. Index of Works, 
No. XIX. 


be natural and necessary, while the Greek-Doric 
column, even in the oldest temples of the Doric order, 
makes its first appearance as a thing complete, and as 
fallen from heaven. It indeed forms from the begin- 
ning an organic and essential part of the monument of 
architecture to which it belongs, but while its origin 
cannot be definitely pointed out on Hellenic ground, it 
can be easily and positively traced in the Egyptian 
cave-architecture. Lepsius reverted to this question 
after his Egyptian journey, and in an academical 
treatise* he criticized sharply yet admiringly the funda- 
mental conditions, the properties, and the merits of 
that Egyptian art, whose development he here, as 
elsewhere, followed with peculiar interest. He gave 
his attention also to the canon of proportions, that is, 
the binding rule according to which the Egyptian 
sculptors were obliged to measure and shape the 
relative proportions of the different parts of the human 
body. He had already been interested in the study of 
this subject in Rome, for in October, 1833, he saw a 
little bust in the Palin collection which was furnished 
on the under surface and both side surfaces with 
mathematically exact squares, the sides of which 
appeared to give him the unit of the canon. " The 
whole bust," he tells Bunsen, " is wrought by this unit, 
which, in fact, according to my measurements of 
various statues, is contained about twenty-one times in 
the whole height." 

* On some Egyptian Forms of Art and their Development. 
Berlin, 1871. Index of Works No. CVIII. 


This canon was well known to the Greeks, and 
Diodorus refers to it in the last chapter of his first book. 
According to him the body was to be divided into 
twenty-one and a quarter parts, and Lepsius now found 
that this rule conformed to the teachings of the later 
sculptors of the Ptolemaic era, who undoubtedly 
divided the human form up to the top of the forehead 
into twenty-one and one-quarter parts, but up to the 
crown of the head into twenty-three parts. Previous 
to this mode of division the canon had been twice 
altered, and both of these older rules (the more recent 
refers to the sculptures of the time of the pyramids), 
had for a fundamental unit the foot, which, taken six 
times, corresponded to the height of the body when 
erect, not indeed, as one would have expected, from 
the sole to the crown of the head, but only to the top 
of the forehead. The distinction between the first and 
second canon principally concerns the position of the 
knee : in the Ptolemaic canon, known to Diodorus, 
Lepsius found the general distribution itself changed. 
This he first discovered at Kom Ombos. We have 
always found the estimates of Lepsius entirely con- 
firmed by our own measurements ; yet, as the labors 
of Charles Blanc in the same department demonstrate, 
some other unit than the foot might be the basis of the 
canon of proportions, such as the finger in men, the 
claw in lions — ex ungue leonem. 

The application of this obligatory rule (of the can- 
on) impressed upon the works of Egyptian plastic art 
that stamp of uniformity with which it has been so 


often and so bitterly reproached. Yet we must regard 
the artistic talents of the Egyptian sculptors from the 
first with great respect when we consider the oldest 
specimens of Egyptian sculpture, which far excel the 
later in freedom of method and in realistic fidelity to 
nature, and which nevertheless are in no way inferior 
to them in all that concerns delicacy of execution. 

Let us then suppose that this most ancient artistic 
race was surrounded by pure barbarians, who in the 
struggle for the bare necessaries of existence had no 
superfluous force to expend in the adornment of life; 
it is easy to understand that the guardians of Egyptian 
culture, the priests, must have made every effort to 
protect against retrogression and ruin the possession 
which was so recently won, and which was exposed to 
constant peril. The canon of proportions held Egypt- 
ian sculpture firmly fixed upon the lonely pinnacle so 
painfully attained, and even though it checked farther 
progress in a lamentable manner, yet, on the other 
hand it had this merit, that by its aid Egyptian plastic 
art preserved untouched through every epoch its 
remarkable purity of style and great technical skill. 
This latter even extended to the production of the 
simple household furniture. Lepsius teaches us to 
value this law correctly, and explains the peculiarity of 
the methods of sculpture by the special qualities of the 
Egyptian national character, which gave its full value 
to every detail with great fidelity, and only accorded 
the second place in its regard to the aspect of the 
whole. The same people whose language was rich in 

pronominal substantives and who, in an objective sense, 
said, " I give to thy hand," rather than " I give to 
thee," " the speech of his mouth," rather than " his 
speech," was obliged to do justice to each separate 
portion of the body. For this reason, in figures in alto- 
relievo and in paintings, the eye was set en face in a 
countenance in profile, in order that it might have its 
full value, regardless of the detriment which accrued 
to the whole figure from such an error. 

Lepsius teaches us to regard and value Egyptian 
sculpture correctly and to consider the detached fig- 
ures which we see ranged in the museum in connection 
with the architectural surroundings for which they 
were originally intended. The erroneous view that 
Egyptian sculpture was architectural in its spirit and 
execution has long been subverted by the figures in the 
round from the ancient kingdom, found during the last 
decade. These are true to nature and well preserved, 
and Lepsius knows how to set forth their merits properly. 

In his investigations concerning the canon of pro- 
portions, we see him apply the measuring-scale for the 
first time, and his researches in the province of Egypt- 
ian metrology were subsequently to yield a rich har- 
vest to science. 

With all this purely Egyptological work, and his 
extensive labors for the Institute, he did not neglect 
his old linquistic studies, and resumed the investigations 
to which his dissertation on the Eugubian tablets had 
given the impulse. The opportunity for the prosecution 
of this work had formed no insignificant element of his 


attraction to Rome, and we see him make a fine col- 
lection of Umbrian and Oscan inscriptions, and draw 
up two papers on ancient Etruria, which did not 
appear in print until several years later, and formed 
the extra profits, as it were, of his sojourn in Italy. It 
is hard to understand how he found time so far to 
complete them that from 1840 to 1842 he only had 
to correct them, and to oversee their passage through 
the press, when we consider that he in no wise with- 
drew himself from the social life of Bunsen's house, 
and from intercourse, grave and gay, with eminent 
strangers. Lepsius himself calls the years in which 
he had the good fortune " to build huts at Rome," " a 
f great holiday of life, earnest and serene, instructive and 
elevating, a determinative period in his development." 

Under Bunsen's guidance, he says, he had learned 
to know life and science upon classic ground from their 
highest and noblest sides. 

In his intercourse with Bunsen he also acquired the 
interest in politics, and especially in ecclesiastical 
politics, which he cherished throughout his life, as is 
proved by his letters to his patron the statesman, and 
to his father, as well as his own journals and the diaries 
of his wife. In one of his note-books we find the plan, 
which, however, was never taken into consideration, for 
a new episcopal order for Germany. The seat of the 
supreme leader of the church and the counselling 
authorities was to be Magdeburg. 



In July, 1838, Lepsius was obliged to take leave of 
Rome with an unwilling heart, in order to attend to 
business of importance for the Institute, first at Paris 
and afterwards at London. He had to enroll new and 
active members for it, and to organize its connection 
with the English literati. Afterwards, by his own wish^ 
he returned to his native land, released from editorial 
labors for the Institute, although he still continued 
to work for it as a member of the board of directors. 

On the way from Paris to London he turned aside 
to Holland, in order to study the celebrated collec- 
tion of Egyptian antiquities at Ley den, which since 
1835 had an excellent director in C. Leemans. Here 
Lepsius found an unexpected wealth of the most 
valuable monuments and papyri, and on September 
12th, 1838, he wrote to Bunsen : "I was going to 
leave to-day, but now I shall be glad to stay for a few 
days more, as I can not return again, and so must 
finish here once for always.* Besides, Leemans, with 
whom I am staying, is a charming man; admirable 
alike in head and heart, and full of ability in every 
direction. He helps me wherever he can, and has 
already made Ley den a city of delight to me." 

* Lepsius visited Holland and Leyden once again in 1852. 


In England he was most cordially received by 
Bimsen, who had resigned his post at Rome, and left 
that city before our friend. The reason of this was 
that he had not succeeded in making an amicable 
adjustment of the ecclesiastical complications in Prussia 
(the quarrel at Cologne and the imprisonment of the 
Bishop of Droste-Vischering). Lepsius had long been 
adopted as a beloved comrade by the Bunsen family, 
and his letters show what a hearty interest he felt in 
every member of it, especially in the lad George, who 
was afterwards to become a prominent member of the 
German National Assembly. 

It was an easy thing for Bunsen, whose admirable 
wife was descended from an English family of dis- 
tinction, to smooth the way for Lepsius, not only in 
London but throughout Great Britain, and to open to 
him the doors of the best houses and of the collections 
most difficult of access. In this way the young Ger- 
man scholar not only learned to know English life on 
all sides, but also obtained admission to all the col- 
lections of Egyptian antiquities, whether they belonged 
to the government or to private individuals. He knew 
how to turn these favorable opportunities to good 
account, and in all England there were few hieroglyphic 
inscriptions which Lepsius did not carry away with 
him, either in impressions or copies, when he quitted 
hospitable Albion. His intercourse with Bunsen was 
especially delightful when he visited him at beautiful 
Llanover, the country place of his mother-in-law, Mrs. 
Waddington. Speaking of this subject, Hare says in 


his biography of the Baroness von Bimsen, " The 
friends were accustomed to wander over the hills for 
hours together in enthusiastic conversation about Egypt 
and its antiquarian writings, or to sit in profound con- 
versation in the churchyard of Llanffoist under an oak 
tree a thousand years old." They had much to say of 
the affairs of the Roman Institute, which Lepsius found 
to be very badly managed in England. The subscribers 
there had received none of the publications for years, 
many of them not since 1830, and on this account had 
stopped paying their dues. Others had supposed that 
the Institute had been dissolved, and the difficult task 
of correcting these errors and determining and collect- 
ing the arrears fell to Lepsius. His plan of publishing 
a separate volume of annals in London was not 
adopted, but he had the good fortune to secure S. 
Birch as an assistant in the management, and the latter 
was now entrusted with the affairs of the English 
section, in place of Millingen. 

The conservative subject of the absolute monarch, 
Frederick William III., also learned in Great Britain 
to know the advantages of civil freedom and of parlia- 
mentary life. 

He had much to settle with Bunsen himself regard- 
ing the work of which they were to be the joint authors, 
and he wrote from London to his faithful patron : " I 
have never labored with such love and devotion as 
now at our, that is, at your work. For it is you who 
have conceived the idea, and at the same time pointed 
out and assured its place in European science; you 


have spun the thread of its life and given the frame- 
work for the whole. Finally, you have provided the 
means for carrying it on, and everything that I accom- 
plish and record I only do according to your ideas 
and for you, and as I work I naturally think of no 
other reader than yourself. I see that I must visit 
you to get you to give me a few quiet days in 
which we can come to a definitive understanding and 
agreement about the impending publication." 

Bunsen labored at the part of the work which fell 
to his share, as Lepsius at his, and the day seemed not 
far distant when the two would compare, combine, and 
publish their manuscripts. But there had already 
arisen many differences of opinion between the col- 
laborators, and these seemed particularly important in 
the department of chronology, where Lepsius was to 
execute the lion's share of the labor. While Bunsen, 
as was afterwards proved, reposed far too much confi- 
dence in the list of Eratosthenes, Lepsius had so high 
an estimate of Manetho as to place the greatest confi- 
dence in those lists of the series of kings which he 
considered the genuine work of that priest. He also 
made freer use of the historical inscriptions and the 
data of ancient Egyptian origin, (with which he had a 
much more intimate acquaintance than Bunsen), and 
attributed to them far greater importance, than seemed 
justifiable to the latter. The materials for his " Book 
of Kings " and his Chronology developed, and took 
the form of independent works, and although both 
were intended as a part of the book to be published m 


common by him and Bunsen, they yet contained, as 
we perceive from the letters of that period, a number 
of details which were in direct opposition to Bunsen's 
views. At the end of the year 1839 it was already 
difficult to comprehend what path the fellow-workmen 
could pursue in order to arrive at a practicable agree- 

The confidence which Lepsius inspired in the high- 
est circles of English society is shown by the circum- 
stance that the Duke of Sutherland wished to take him 
into his household as mentor and tutor to his son. But 
the young scholar declined this flattering öfter, which 
was associated with great material advantages, and 
wrote to Bunsen : " My one-sided talent in the dissec- 
tion of organic structures has never been united with 
any readiness for presenting things broadly, as is 
necessary in teaching, and especially in teaching the 
young. Besides, I am not qualified for an instructor, 
because I perceive every day that I myself have not 
yet passed the season of education." 

These words sound somewhat strange on the lips 
of so thoughtful and able a young man ; he was then 
twenty-nine years old. But at that time he was still 
striving after the ideal of life which hovered before 
him, and such expressions were partly dictated by 
modesty, partly by the disinclination which he had 
previously expressed for the vocation of a pedagogue, 
and partly also by a longing for Egypt. During his 
stay in England (1839) this became stronger and 


After he had declined the offer of the Duke of 
Sutherland, he took serious council with himself as to 
how his future should be spent, and wrote to Bunsen : 
" A decision as to my immediate future is constantly 
becoming more imperative. But no matter in what 
direction I send forth my thoughts, not one of them 
brings me back the olive branch. I cut myself off from 
Italy," (by giving up his situation in the Institute at 
Rome, although he was still to work for it in Germany), 
" I cannot stay in England." Bunsen had been ap- 
pointed Prussian Ambassador to Bern, and while in 
England Lepsius' affections had become engaged, 
although he would not yield to the impulse of his heart, 
as his uncertain future did not permit him to woo a 
maiden who was apparently as poor as himself. " I 
have nothing to do in France, and it would be too 
soon for me to go to Germany. So Egypt is all that 
remains to me, and that is still the pole-star in all my 
deliberations. Some day or other Egypt must be 
devoured; this is my time, there is no war there now, 
etc. An Egyptian journey would be a great recom- 
mendation for me afterwards in Germany. In any 
case this would be the most natural course for my 
affairs to take. Ought it not be possible to attain 
this goal in some way? The first and most agreeable 
thought always leads to Berlin. Therefore, I ask you 
if an extraordinary effort might not be made there. 
An urgent application from you to the Crown Prince 
would be the main thing. I would appeal especially to 
Humboldt. Gerhard would certainly be willing to 


undertake the personal conduct of the affair. If this 
course seems to you entirely impracticable, or if it mis- 
carries, I must try to start from here If the 

worst comes to the worst, I will raise the necessary 
money somewhere or other in Germany, and go to 
Cairo at my own risk." 

In this letter, he gives open expression to the desire 
of his heart for the first time. Bunsen thought him 
right, promised his young friend to do everything possi- 
ble in the affair, and in conjunction with Humboldt to 
interest the Crown Prince, (soon afterwards Frederick 
William IV.), in his Nile journey. But he begged his 
protege not to be over-hasty, and represented to him 
how detrimental it would be to break up their common 
enterprise, as well as the undertakings begun by 
Lepsius alone. His Umbrian and Oscan inscriptions 
finished at Rome, as well as two treatises, were still to 
be printed ; and the edition of his " Book of the Dead," 
besides several other things, was not yet concluded. 
Yet more, previous to his departure the Egyptian 
chronology and lists of kings, for which Bunsen was 
impatiently waiting, must be set in order, and the 
German translation of Gaily Knight's " Development 
of Architecture," also awaited its completion. This, 
had been prepared by Lepsius' father, and he had him-, 
self undertaken to revise and provide it with an intro- 

The impatient young Egyptologist yielded to these 
monitions of his experienced and benevolent patron, 
and in November, 1839, we see him again among his 



family at Naumburg. The ensuing months he spent 
partly in his native town, partly in Berlin, working 
indefatigably, while Bimsen (who had meanwhile 
arrived at Bern as Prussian Ambassador), and A. v. 
Humboldt exerted themselves to promote his Egyptian 
journey. The great influence of the latter had only 
increased, since the Crown Prince of Prussia, on June 
seventh, 1840, had ascended the throne as Frederick 
William IV. Lepsius was permitted to enter into 
closer relations with the famous friend of the King, as he 
satisfied Humboldt's desire to possess a list of the stones 
and metals mentioned in the hieroglyphic texts. This 
he did in a fashion which surprised the natural philoso- 
pher, who was ever hungry for knowledge, and filled 
him with gratitude. Instead of a catalogue, Lepsius 
presented to him a treatise, of which he says himself 
that the style in which it was written gave him great 
pleasure. "These researches concerning stones," he 
writes, " have brought to light many a jewel for myself, 
which I have deposited in my hieroglyphic store-cham- 
ber." All that he then acquired remained lying there 
until, in 187 1, it celebrated its resurrection in his model 
dissertation on the metals in Egyptian inscriptions. 

The proposition made to him at this time to enter 
the Foreign Office, and devote himself to a diplomatic 
career, he declined positively and without long con- 

In Naumburg was completed the printing of Gaily 
Knight's work,* and of the introduction by Lepsius. 

* Index of Works, No. XXVIL 


This fills forty-six pages, and treats of the extensive 
employment of the pointed arch in Germany as early 
as the tenth and eleventh century. His observations 
begin with the Naumburg cathedral, which his father 
had studied with special thoroughness, and where he 
had actually found pointed arches of the eleventh 

This introduction raised a great deal of dust, and 
when, thirteen years afterwards, Lepsius wished to 
carry through an affair of importance with the King, 
the royal adviser on art matters at that time, was not well 
disposed towards him, because in the views of Lepsius 
on the early application of the pointed arch in Ger- 
many, he saw an attack upon his own opinions. For 
the rest, the note-books of the Egyptologist, full of 
architectural drawings, and his letters to his father, 
show that in all his subsequent journeys he paid the 
keenest attention to all the edifices which he met, and 
when he was in a position to construct a house for 
himself, he built it in the English-Gothic style, and 
placed his beloved pointed arch over the doors and 

Meanwhile, he also published two smaller academi- 
cal treatises. 

In the winter of 1841, he undertook a new journey 
to Italy across the Alps, which were covered with 
snow and ice. The exclusive object of this was to 
complete the editing of the " Book of the Dead,'' 
which had been already prepared, and which was 
mentioned above on page 95. x\s a well-known 


scholar and member of the board of directors of the 
Archaeological Institute at Rome he was now received 
at Turin with particular consideration, and had freely 
placed at his disposal a new copy of the great Turin 
" Book of the Dead," which had been brought thither 
by Barucchi, the manager of the museum. But this 
was not sufficient for him, and there was still much for 
him to do before his own copy gained that accuracy 
which distinguishes it. 

" I ought to leave here to-morrow in order to keep 
to the time fixed upon," he writes to Bunsen, on Feb- 
ruary 18, 1 84 1 ; " but it is not possible for me to finish 
yet. I need at least two days more to complete all 
that is of most importance. I go to the museum at 
half-past eight; they are not up there before that; I 
stay there the whole day, except from four till quarter 
of five, my meal-time ; from the table I go back again 
and work until ten or half-past ten o'clock. I cannot 
work at the great papyrus by candlelight, for fear of 
injuring something, but then, I have the finest things to 
look over to select for copying, all of which I had not 
found when I was here first." Altogether, he now 
perceived that during his former visit much had been 
intentionally withheld from him; this time everything 
was entrusted to him, and he made the most profitable 
use, for his chronological purposes especially, of the 
large " Papyrus of the Kings." He had busts cast in 
plaster, from the finest images of the Pharaohs, for the 
Berlin museum, and amongst the treasures of Turin the 
idea occurred to him of publishing the most important 


xecords of the time of the Pharaohs as a separate 
work. This accordingly appeared in 1842.* 

He employed the draughtsmen Weidenbach before 
mentioned, on this work and on the edition of the 
" Book of the Dead," and he expressed to Bimsen his 
delight over the great progress made by these artists on 
the path which he had indicated to them. 

On his way home he visited Bunsen in Bern, spent 
several happy days in the circle of the ambassador's 
family, and then tarried for some time in Munich, 
where v. Zech was his " cicerone," and where he estab- 
lished relations with Cornelius and other men of 
celebrity. He enjoyed the most frequent and agreeable 
intercourse with Schelling, of whom he says " his nature 
is as great as it is lovely." The latter had just 
accepted a call to Berlin, (at first for one year only) and 
Lepsius says he was going thither with great hopes of 
success and of exercising a salutary influence. " He is 
convinced beforehand of the victory of his good cause, 
since it is not a question of bare negation and opposi- 
tion, such as he reproaches Stahl with, (who only filched 
from him), but he has something to advance which is 
new and positive, and will make a place for itself. He 
must either be refuted, or he must convince and prevail. 
As, according to his firm conviction, he cannot be 
refuted, the latter must take place. Besides the fore- 
going alternatives, it is true that another occurred to 
me, but about that I naturally kept silence. Good 
fortune to him !" 

* Index of Works, No. XXX. 


Refreshed and satisfied with the results of this 
journey he devoted himself at home with all his energy 
to the editing of the Umbrian and Oscan inscriptions* 
which he had collected in Rome. 

In the following year two more of the fruits of his 
Italian labors came to maturity,** and were received 
with universal commendation. 

One sees with what bee-like industry he made use 
of this time of waiting. This was duly recognized, 
for before he set out on the Egyptian journey, he was 
appointed Professor Extraordinary at the University of 
Berlin, and thus the first chair of Egyptology was 
founded at that university. There was already a 
similar one at Leipsic, but the improper course adopted 
by SeyrTarth, for whom it had been founded, gave little 
encouragement to other universities to extend support 
to Egyptologic studies. In this way it had happened 
that Lepsius' proposition, that a professorship in the 
Berlin University should be conferred upon him, had 
been rejected ; but Humboldt had recognized the 
qualifications of the applicant, and in 1841, as soon as 
he returned home from a protracted stay in Paris, he 
interested himself in the matter. As usual, he carried 
through what he desired, and on the twenty-sixth of 
January, 1842, Lepsius received the appointment as 
Professor Extraordinary of Egyptology, and in addition, 
the grant of a small salary. It is true that the newly 
appointed Professor could not begin to lecture ; for the 

* Index o f Works, No. XXVIII. 
** Index of Works, No. XXIX. 


completion and publication of the works mentioned 
above claimed much of his time, and the preparations 
for the Egyptian journey still more. 

Frederick William IV., of Prussia, was a monarch 
whose unpractical, romantic disposition took the great- 
est delight, not only in the luxuriant, many-colored, 
fragrant bloom of Indian civilization, but also in the 
mysterious and immemorial magic of the Egyptian. 
He had given willing audience to Humboldt and to 
Bunsen. The ambassador had been exchanged from 
Bern to London in 1841, especially in order that he 
might carry out the wishes of his master regarding the 
evangelical episcopate in Jerusalem. Both these men 
were in particularly close relation with the king, and on 
this account they were more likely than any others to 
succeed in winning the monarch over to Lepsius' pro- 
ject of travelling. 

Already, as Crown Prince, the King had acquired 
the Passalacqua collection of Egyptian antiquities, as 
well as negotiated for the purchase of other similar 
collections.* He had taken pains to place this treasure 
in the Monbijou palace at Berlin, and entrusted the 

* At this time the famous Anastasi papyri were also offered for 
sale in Berlin through Lepsius, and for a comparatively low price. 
Yet at that time there were no funds forthcoming for their purchase. 
The same thing occurred with the beautiful Dorbiney papyrus, which 
was sent to Berlin in 1851 to be sold, and was examined by Lepsius. 
He writes, "I would not myself consider the two thousand pounds 
too dear for such a work of the fourteenth century, which perhaps 
was put before Moses as a reading-book. But now they would not 
give eight hundred thalers for it here." Eighty to a hundred pounds 
were offered to Miss Dorbiney for it at that time by Olfers ; if he had 
gone a little higher, this treasure would have come to Berlin, but 
soon after de Rouge deciphered its interesting contents, and it then 
went, if I am rightly informed, for two thousand pounds, to London. 


care of it to Passalacqua. In his youth the scientific 
event of the deciphering of hieroglyphics had excited 
his special attention, and Bunsen, who had long been 
in close relations with him, both as a man and as his 
most eminent statesman, had been assiduous in pre- 
serving his interest in Egyptian antiquity. He had 
kept the monarch informed as to the progress of 
Egyptology, before his own protege had even thought 
of undertaking a voyage on the Nile. 

Humboldt now joined with Bunsen to induce the 
king to bestow his powerful support upon the young 
Prussian, who, even at that time, might be considered 
the most worthy of Champollion's successors. 

Lepsius had his plans to make ; Humboldt talked 
over each separate point with him in the most careful 
manner, and thus there ripened in them both the wish, 
to transform the journey of a single scholar into a 
scientific expedition. Lepsius must of course keep the 
leadership, and there was also committed to him the 
choice of those persons to be especially employed in 
carrying out his own purposes. But he had to consult 
with Humboldt on the greater or less fitness and 
necessity for the appointment of the corps of assistants 
who were to be taken, as well as on the capabilities of 
each single member of the expedition. He had to 
submit to him exact estimates, both in writing and by 
word of mouth, in regard to the prospective expenses 
and the time to be consumed, as well as of all that he 
hoped to gain, and the collections which he expected 
to make on the way, before Humboldt would undertake 


to present to the king the " memorial " which had been 
drawn up for the purpose, and to influence him to the 
final decision. 

Lepsius had designated, as one of the principal 
objects of his journey, the collection of beautiful and 
interesting monuments of the time of the Pharaohs, to 
be added as a new embellishment to the Egyptian 
museum in the palace of Monbijou at Berlin. This 
purpose of the expedition, which Humboldt knew how 
to dilate upon, won the entire approbation of the King, 
and accordingly he approved the contents of the 
" memorial " which had been presented to him, endowed 
the expedition with abundant pecuniary resources, and 
commended it, and especially its leader, by means of a 
warm autograph letter, to the great Muhamed ' Ali, 
who at that time ruled over the valley of the Nile with 
a strong hand. He also bestowed upon the travellers 
superb vases, from the porcelain manufactory at Berlin, 
as a gift for Muhamed "Ali, in order to lay the viceroy 
himself under an obligation and to secure for the 
expedition the favor of that monarch. 

Everything was now ready for the departure, but 
before Lepsius started he had to set his affairs in order. 
Several undertakings had been brought to a successful 
issue, and all the most important preparatory work was 
finished for the book which he and Bunsen were to 
publish in concert. Yet it was this very enterprise 
which filled him with the greatest solicitude. Frankly 
and honorably he disclosed to his revered patron every- 
thing that disturbed him, in the admirable letter in 


which he tried to induce Bunsen, to absolve him from 
co-operation in the work which they had planned. The 
differences of opinion between them had become more 
and more sharply denned, and the elder scholar had 
been as little able to convince the younger, as the 
younger to convince him. It seemed to Lepsius im- 
possible to present side by side two different opinions 
in a work which must yet pretend to unity of thought. 
He justly attributed to Bunsen the most magnificent 
ability for the handling of great historical problems; 
but considering his wide command of this field, and 
that in chronology also he was able to pursue his way 
independently, Lepsius regarded his own intervention 
as a mistake, both practically and essentially. He was 
indeed most disturbed by the circumstance that no one 
would be in a position to distinguish between his and 
Bunsen's work, whence they must both be subjected to 
erroneous criticisms. He, Lepsius, wished to reserve 
his manuscript till the completion of his travels; Bun- 
sen w r ould soon be able to send his work to press. 
He besought the latter not to wait till his own return 
from the journey, but to proceed independently without 
delay, and to use as entirely his own, all the material 
regarding which they had come to an agreement. To 
put it off would only be to renew the old doubts, and 
to begin afresh the conflict which had been once waged 
without result. He would be ready and glad (and this 
promise he fulfilled), to make an abstract for him of all 
the names of kings written in hieroglyphics, and pre- 
pare them for the press. 



Thus, in the work entitled " Egypt's Place in 
Universal History," the first volume of which was 
published in 1845, before Lepsius' return from Egypt, 
the whole historical statement, which takes the loftiest 
point of view and is rich in novel and suggestive 
ideas, is entirely Bunsen's own work. His young friend 
only placed at his disposal much historical and chrono- 
logical information, which he had happened upon in the 
course of his researches among the monuments. 

It is unquestionable that if the fellow-laborers had 
adhered to their original plan, and had not separated, 
Bunsen's work would have gained a more stable 
foundation and assumed a much calmer and more 
succinct shape than it actually had. The stream of 
Bunsen's eloquence, which was often too glittering and 
too diffuse, would have been confined within bounds 
by the conciseness and severity of Lepsius. His aspi- 
rations after grandeur and breath, would have been kept 
down to earth by Lepsius' fidelity and care for the 
smallest detail. 

The candor of the letter in which Lepsius abandons 
the enterprise, and the manner in which Bunsen took 
the withdrawal of his protege, do them both the highest 
honor, and this incident never in the least disturbed the 
friendly relation between them.* Lepsius, when he 

* Unfortunately, a work begun by Lepsius during this period of 
waiting was never completed. It was to be called " The Main Out- 
lines of Hieroglyphics,'' and he wrote of it to Bunsen : " In it 1 must 
once again touch briefly on the history of discovery, then on the system 
of writing, but more practically than in its historical development. 
After this follows my statement regarding consequent transcriptions. 
These are in Latin letters, for henceforth I shall use the Coptic letters 


could finally leave Berlin, went by way of London, was 
received there in the most affectionate manner by 
Bimsen, and accompanied by him to Southampton, 
where on the first of September, 1842, the young 
Egyptologist embarked for Alexandria. Together they 
had thoroughly talked over all that might be attained 
and all that might be gained, before the steamship 
weighed anchor. 



On the eighteenth of September, 1842, after a 
stormy passage through the Bay of Biscay and a short 
stay in Gibraltar and Malta, Lepsius, who was proof 
against sea-sickness, and had been perfectly well 
throughout the voyage, first set his foot upon Egyptian 
soil at Alexandria. 

The choice of his companions had been fortunate, 
and answered perfectly to the needs of the expedition. 
We will first mention Erbkam, an excellently trained 

for real Coptic words only, and not, as Champollion has done, for 
hieroglyphic words, as that only creates confusion. After this comes 
a short sketch of the hieroglyphic grammar, and I intend to give a 
selection of groups of hieroglyphics, as the foundation of a lexicon ; 
more to secure for myself the priority of classification than even 
remotely to supply the need of a lexicon, which I cannot think of 
at present. I mean to bring out the book, as well as the plates, in the 
■usual octavo form of the Annals." Written on the 15th of September, 


young architect, distantly related to Lepsius, who was 
to make surveys, and draw maps and sketches. He 
showed himself so entirely equal to the task that the 
architectural and topographical drawings executed by 
him under the direction of Lepsius have long been ac- 
knowledged to be model productions and faultlessly 
correct.* We have already said all that is necessary of 
Lepsius' Naumberg fellow-countrymen, the brothers 
Weidenbach, and their work as hierogrammatists. 
Lepsius had made the acquaintance of the painter 
Frey, from Basle, when in Rome. In the book on 
monuments, which will be described hereafter, many of 
the beautiful colored landscapes and architectural pic- 
tures from lower Egypt are by him ; others are by the 
Dresden painter, George, a jovial and talented artist, 
who joined the expedition after Frey had become seri- 
ously ill, and been sent home. 

The moulder, Franke, at first rendered excellent ser- 
vice by making casts of such monuments as could not 
be brought away, and by preparing the many thousands 
of paper impressions which it was necessary to take of 
the inscriptions and bas reliefs. But subsequently he 
had to be dismissed and sent home on account of inad- 
missible conduct. 

The expedition was also accompanied by H. 
Abeken of Osnabrück, who had been with Bunsen, first 
at Rome and then at London, as chaplain of the Prus- 

* Erbkam himself afterwards wrote several excellent works, 
namely: " Ueber den Gräber-und Tempelbau der alten Aegypter" 
1852. " Ueber die Memnoncolosse des Aegyptischen Thebes" 1853. 
" Ueber alte Aegyptische Bauwerke." Ephemerides, Vienna, 1845. 


sian Embassy. He had made the acquaintance of the 
leader of the expedition on the Tiber, and was closely 
associated with him during the remainder of his life. 
Under the guidance of Lepsius he occupied himself 
with Egyptological studies, even after he had relin- 
quished theology and entered the diplomatic service. 
This is the same Abeken, diplomatic Privy Counsellor 
and Acting Counsellor, who afterwards accompanied 
Prince Bismarck to France during the war of 1 870-1, 
and proved of great service there. On the tenth of 
December, 1842, he joined the expedition in which he 
served incidentally as chaplain. He was the most 
agreeable companion to Lepsius, " with his invariably 
cheerful temper," and his " witty and learned conversa- 

With these Germans were associated two English- 
men. The first was the sculptor Bonomi, who at that 
time had already won celebrity as a traveler in Egypt 
and Ethiopia, and of whom Lepsius himself said : " he 
is not only full of practical knowledge about the life 
there, but he is also a connoisseur in Egyptian art, and 
a master of Egyptian drawing."** The second was the 

* Abeken afterwards published a " Rappoti sur les resultats de 
\ 1' expedition Prussienne dans la haute Nubie. Revue archeol. IV." 1846, 
as well as a lecture entitled : " Das Aegvptische Museum." Berlin, 

** Bonomi published the following papers: "On the Site of 
Memphis." Transactions of the Roy. Soc. of Literature. N. S. II. 1847, 
" Arundale a. Bonomi. Gallery of Egyptian Antiquities," London, 
1844, "and Catalogue of the Museum of Hartwell House," London, 
1858. Sharpe and Bonomi published together the fine "Sarcophagus 
of Seti I." London, 1858. We also know of two papers of his on 
Obelisks in the Transactions of the Roy. Soc. of Literature, 1841, 
Vols. I. and II. 


young and "genial" architect Wild, who was of great 
assistance to Erbkam. 

The leader of the expedition had himself scarcely- 
passed his thirty-first year, and was so young and vigor- 
ous, that when he desired to hire a kavass, that is, a 
Turkish constable, to superintend the servants, the in- 
tercourse with the authorities, etc., he wrote home : 
" In Europe I should have felt more than sufficient 
confidence in my own ability to manage the entire prac- 
tical conduct of the expedition." He had, besides, sov- 
ereign command of the most thorough scholarship in all 
those departments wherein the expedition was intended 
to add to existing knowledge. 

He had garnered the whole harvest to be reaped in 
Europe from every field of Egyptian archaeology, and 
all that could be gathered anew from the banks of the 
Nile only needed to be stored in the receptacles which, 
already set apart and half-filled, stood ready for the ex- 
pected gains. 

The conditions under which he traveled, and 
studied the localities of the monuments, were such as 
to fill us later investigators with envy. For in 1842, 
there was no museum of Boulak, which now lawfully 
claims all antiquities from Egyptian soil as soon as they 
are brought to the light of day. At that time there ex- 
isted only the first beginnings of a collection of Egyp- 
tian monuments, and these had no supervisor nor 

The subsisting law against the exportation of an- 
tiquities was set aside in favor of Lepsius, compulsory 


labor was not yet abolished, and Muhamed 'Ali, who 
governed in his viceroyalty with the irresponsible power 
of an absolute despot, wished to extend every assistance 
to the expedition. He caused a firman to be issued for 
Lepsius, which gave him unconditional permission to 
make any excavations which he might consider desira- 
ble. All the local authorities were charged to assist 
him in his undertakings, and Lepsius said that by means 
of the kavasses who had been assigned to him by the 
government, and on the strength of the firman, they 
obtained from the sheiks of the nearest villages and 
the mudirs of the provinces all the workmen and ap- 
pliances needed for making and transporting his collec- 
tion of antiquities. The necessary payments had of 
course to be made, but they never met with a refusal. 
At Fayoum, for instance, he employed a hundred and 
eight workmen in the excavation of the building which 
he considered to be the Labyrinth. Each man received 
two copper piasters a day (about twenty pfennige) and 
each child ten pfennige, or, if it was very industrious, 
fifteen pfennige, a day. Besides this some bread was 
given them. Under such conditions great things may 
be accomplished with comparatively small means. 

Nowadays it is only under exceptional circum- 
stances, and within carefully prescribed limits, that a 
European is permitted to make excavations. The la- 
borers ask quite a high price, — in Thebes I had to 
pay each man six full piasters (one mark, twenty pfen- 
nige) — and, if one disinters any monuments, even 
under the most favorable circumstances, only such 


single specimens are permitted to leave the country as 
the vice-regal museum is already rich in. Lepsius was 
more fortunately situated. The monuments which he 
found in Ethiopia and wished to add to his collection 
were brought from Mount Barcal to Alexandria on 
government vessels, and to these were also added three 
tombs, from the neighborhood of the pyramids of 
Ghizeh, which had been carefully taken to pieces 
with the help of four workmen sent expressly for the 
purpose from Berlin. On his departure from Egypt he 
received a special written permit for the removal of the 
collection, and the objects obtained were themselves 
presented to King Frederick William IV. of Prussia» 
by Muhamed 'Ali. 

With full authority to take possession of all that 
might embellish the Berlin collection, Lepsius appro- 
priated what was most desirable and most interesting 
wherever he found it, and ventured, as we have seen, 
to remove whole tombs from the necropolis of ancient 
Memphis to the Spree. This could not be done with- 
out injury to the adjoining tombs, as they had con- 
sisted of a number of rooms collectively, and envy, ill- 
will and stupidity were quickly at hand to accuse the 
Prussian expedition of having, like impious Vandals, 
plundered and injured the monuments in pursuit of 
their own purposes. But this accusation was entirely un- 
founded, and any one who knows the condition of Egypt 
at that time can only rejoice that so many treasures, 
which were neglected and exposed to wanton de- 
struction in their native country, were at a favorable 


moment removed to Europe and preserved in a fine 
public museum. 

No farther assurance is needed that Lepsius and 
his companions neither laid hands upon nor destroyed 
a single stone unnecessarily, but it will be expedient to 
mention here that since the French expedition and the 
completion of the great work on monuments prepared 
by it, a series of ancient edifices portrayed therein have 
vanished from the earth. 

Between our first and second visit to the Nile an 
interesting little temple at Erment had been turned into 
a sugar factory, and in the same space of time the fine 
remains of a Grecian portico of white marble, which 
had adorned the old Bes-Antinoopolis, had found their 
way to the lime-kiln. This could occur at a time 
when the monuments were lovingly and jealously 
guarded by the vigilant eye of Mariette, and hence it 
is easy to conjecture what dangers threatened them as 
long as they were left entirely at the mercy of every- 
encroachment of the fellahin. 

In a letter from the necropolis of Memphis, long 
before the above-mentioned accusations were brought 
against him, Lepsius wrote : " It is really shocking to 
see how every day whole trains of camels come here 
from the neighboring villages, and march back again 
in long files, laden with building stones. Fortunately, 
— for everything is fortunate under some circum- 
stances, — the lazy fellahin are more attracted by the 
Psamatik tombs than by those of the oldest dynasties, 
whose big blocks are too unwieldly for them." 


Therefore we may confidently designate the re- 
moval to Berlin, just at that time, of the three tombs 
from Memphis and the other monuments, as an act of 
protection. Only the pillar which Lepsius removed 
from the perfectly preserved tomb of Seti I. at Thebes, 
should have been left in its place. 

The travellers, filled with enthusiasm for their task, 
had a long and difficult journey to take in the course 
of their investigations and search for spoils. It led 
them all, by ships, upon the backs ot camels, and on 
foot, with many delays and digressions, into the heart 
of the African continent, as far as Khartoum at the 
junction of the two sources of the Nile. Then, alone 
except for the company of Abeken, Lepsius sailed on 
up the Blue River as far as the village of Romali, be- 
tween Sennar, the celebrated ancient capital of the 
Sudan, which he visited, and Fazokl. 

The last letter from our wayfarer is dated from 
Smyrna, and was written on the seventh of December, 
1845, much more than three years after his arrival at 
Alexandria. From the very first, a long period of 
traveling had been contemplated, and the leader had 
taken pains to establish his own position with regard to 
the whole party, and the rights and duties of each in- 
dividual member of it, as well as to provide for " suit- 
able intellectual diet." The commanding nature of 
his distinguished and imposing personality had, if we 
except the excesses of the moulder Franke, obviated 
throughout the whole time any illegitimate opposition 
to, or rebellion against, his position as chief. How 


justly, kindly and wisely this was maintained may best 
be shown by the friendship and attachment manifested 
towards him till death by Abeken, Erbkam, the Wei- 
denbachs, and all the other members of the expedition, 
with the exception of Franke. 

And this is no light matter, for nowhere do dis- 
agreements of every kind occur more readily than 
among a small party, who, separated from their native 
civilization, have to endure, in addition to many de- 
privations, the burden of an enervating climate; and 
who, tormented by discomforts, fatigue, and homesick- 
ness, yield only too easily to gloomy and discontented 
moods, beneath whose spell it is hard to be just 
and to submit cheerfully to the will of another. 
Lepsius himself says that from the beginning he tried 
to diversify the life of his party, and especially the irk- 
some and very monotonous work of his artists, not 
only by the weekly holiday of Sunday, but also, as 
often as an opportunity offered, by cheerful merry- 
makings and pleasant diversions. 

One must himself have lived and worked in the 
Orient, far from the bustle of cities, to appreciate what 
it is to pass on from days to weeks and from weeks to 
months as on a monotonous road without stopping- 
places. In such a place and at such times one feels 
the blessing of our Sunday holiday, and Lepsius' fel- 
low-travellers would certainly have fallen a prey to 
fatigue and disgust during their long period of travel- 
ing and working together, if their chief had not ob- 
served the feasts and holidays peculiar to their own 


country, and had not kindly and judiciously taken ac- 
count of their spiritual needs. One of the most beauti- 
ful memories of our own life is that of the moment 
when, after many months of wandering through Mos- 
lem lands, we unexpectedly heard a church bell ring on 
Christmas day. It was long, long since we had lis- 
tened to the sound, and for the first time we fully ap- 
preciated its elevating loveliness, when standing in front 
of the little Protestant church in Upper Egypt from 
whose modest tower it resounded. 

Like a thirsty man after a cool drink, we returned 
to our labors with fresh pleasure and fresh enthusiasm. 
The Sunday holiday of the Prussian expedition not only 
recompensed and blessed them with the necessary rest, 
but kept them in communion with the life of their dear 
ones at home. 

It would exceed the limits prescribed for this bio- 
graphy if we should follow from spot to spot the travels, 
excavations, researches and collections of the party led 
by Lepsius. He has himself relieved us of this very 
tempting task, for his " Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia 
and the Peninsula of Sinai,* is a book which can and 
should be read with pleasure and profit even by the 
general reader. It is by no means confined to the re- 
sults of his scientific investigations, but makes the 
reader familiar also with the personal experiences of the 
author, and is distinguished by a clear, concise, vivid 
and often charming style. It is in many respects a 

* Index of Works, No. XLVIII. 


book of importance for his fellow laborers in the same 
department, since it places them in living contact with 
the sources whence sprang many of the most important 
discoveries and works of the author. 

During his long stay at the necropolis of Memphis 
he succeeded in elucidating the details of the history of 
the " Old Empire." The intuition by which he separ- 
ated the twelfth dynasty from the eighteenth,* assigned 
its correct place to the incursion of the Hyksos, and 
even anticipated all that afterwards received documen- 
tary corroboration by Diimichen's discovery of the 
great Tablet of the Kings at Abydos, will ever remain 
an intellectual feat worthy of admiration. 

From Memphis he undertook, with the assistance of 
Erbkam's technical knowledge, to investigate the archi- 
tectural system employed in the construction of the 
pyramids. The results were recorded, even before the 
close of the journey, in a dissertation in which the sub- 
ject was treated in the most fundamental manner.** 
These conclusions have been maintained against all at- 
tacks, and even against the attempt to modify them 
made by the excellent Perrot. In this work Lepsius 
confirms and explains the statement of Herodotus that 
the pyramids were completed from above downwards, 
and were built " in successive steps." The work cited 
also contains a well considered and convincing answer 
to that other question which presents itself to the 

* Afterwards thoroughly demonstrated. Index of Works No. 

** Index of Works No. XXXII. 


thoughtful observer of these remarkable monuments. 
As soon as a Pharaoh ascended the throne he began 
the construction of his mausoleum. It was at first of 
modest dimensions, since he erected, as a nucleus of the 
whole, a truncated pyramid with steep sides, and in 
doing so often took advantage of the natural rocks. 
When he was overtaken by death, the pinnacle was first 
placed upon this nucleus, and its inclined sides were 
then continued to the ground. If time and power were 
still left after the completion of the first nucleus and 
before the pinnacle was set on, the truncated pyramid 
was invested with a new outer layer in the form of 
steps, and so it was continued until a point was reached 
where each new addition constituted of itself a gigantic 
labor. Whenever the time came to bring the monu- 
ment to completion it was always necessary first to set 
on the pinnacle ; the steps lying nearest to it were then 
filled out, and finally those at the bottom. There are 
pyramids of all sizes, and what we have said explains 
how it came to pass that one king erected for himself a 
monument of prodigious dimensions, while another was 
contented with one much smaller; why we can only 
point to two unfinished pyramids, and how Cheops, the 
builder of the largest pyramid, found courage to un- 
dertake a work for the execution of which the average 
duration of a reign would in no wise suffice, while yet 
the completion of it could not be exacted of his suc- 
cessors, who would have their own mausoleums to pro- 
vide for. Everything is made clear, if we assume with 
Lepsius that the size of the pyramid was regulated by 


the duration of its builder's life, and that the latter had 
it in his power at any time to complete the work. 

Lepsius believed that he had found the Labyrinth 
at Fayoum, and he was perhaps right in so thinking. 
But, even if this remarkable ancient building should be 
re-discovered on some other site of the old " lake coun- 
try," yet to Lepsius would still belong the credit of 
having determined the position of Lake Moeris, first in- 
dicated by Linant de Bellefonds, and of having proved 
that the Pharaoh Amenemha III., of the twelfth 
dynasty, was the Moeris of the Greeks.* He also was 
the first to investigate and make known all that was ac- 
complished by this prince in regulating the inundation 
of the Nile. 

We know that his researches in Egypt and Ethiopia 
extended even beyond the limits of the region of monu- 
ments. Within that zone he has, if we may be allowed 
the expression, left no corner unexplored. He met with 
the most abundant returns at Beni Hassan, Thebes, 
(especially upon the return journey) Gebel Silsile, the 
island of Philae, Abu Simbel on the second cataract, 
among the ruins of Ethiopian Meroe far in the South, 
and also on the peninsula of Sinai. 

Within the bounds of the temple of Isis, on the 
lovely island beyond the first cataract, he made a suc- 
cession of discoveries, upon which he afterwards based 
great and original works. He first found here an ec- 
clesiastical ordinance,** similar to the decree of Rosetta, 

* Index of Works No. XXXIII. 

* Index of Works. Nos. XLIV., XLIVa, and XLIVb. 


drawn up in two languages, that is in hieroglyphics, and 
also in the demotic (popular) writing and language. 
The numerous names of the Ptolemies, which occurred 
in the inscriptions of the temple of Isis, also impelled 
him to study more thoroughly the succession of the 
Egyptian kings of the house of the Lagidae and to de- 
termine finally the order of this series of rulers, of such 
great importance for the history of other countries.* 
Here, as everywhere, he paid special attention to the 
Greek inscriptions, which are very numerous on Philae. 
By his sagacity and quick insight great additions were 
made to the Egypto-Grecian inscriptions previously 
collected by Letronne and others. Those which had 
been previously known received manifold corrections 
and additions owing to the extreme accuracy peculiar 
to him. He afterwards devoted a special treatise to the 
hieroglyphic form of the name of the Ionians.** 

On the return journey he was not able to stop for 
as long a time as he had desired in the well-preserved 
Ptolemaic temples of Denderah and Edfu. These are 
thickly covered with inscriptions, and therefore he left 
behind him at those places, for Diimichen, Mariette, 
Naville, Brugsch and other Egyptologists, not only rich 
gleanings, but really the greater part of the substantial 
work still to be accomplished. But his attention was 
especially attracted in Edfu by an inscription which 
was afterwards to be of great service to him. In it were 
recorded the possessions in landed property of this tem- 

* Index of Works. No. L. 
** Index of Works. No. LVIIIa. 


pie during the reign of Ptolemy XI. (Alexander I.)* 
The surface measures which occurred in it he was after- 
wards able to use to advantage in his studies on the 
linear and square measures of the ancient Egyptians. 

After the expedition had passed the first cataract 
and entered the Nubian dominion the leader not only 
turned his attention to the remains of the temples there, 
which had as yet been examined in a very insufficient 
manner, but he also, with indefatigable industry, de- 
voted himself to studying the languages of all the tribes 
on whose territories he touched. The description 
which he gives of the Nubian language, in a letter 
from Korusko, dated the thirtieth of November, 1843, 
presents with extreme conciseness the essential charac- 
teristics of this remarkable idiom. In his farther 
travels towards the south he afterwards investigated all 
the dialects of this same group of languages, and ac- 
quired such an excellent knowledge of it that he could 
venture, at a later date, to publish a translation of the 
Gospel according to St. Mark in Nubian.* In pub- 
lishing this translation he made use of the standard al- 
phabet which he had himself invented and which has 
been previously mentioned. Indeed it was on this ac- 
count that he first began the difficult task of preparing 
the universal alphabet, which he was afterwards asked to 
extend to a great number of languages for various special 
purposes. During the journey he prepared a grammar 
and dictionary of three dialects; the Nuba language 

* Index of Works. Nos. LIV. and LVIII. 
** Index of Works, No. LXIX. 


spoken by the Nuba or Berber tribe, the Kungara lan- 
guage of the negroes of Dar-Fur, and the Bega lan- 
guage of the Bischarin inhabiting the eastern Sudan. 
This he did so perfectly that he himself hoped that the 
publication of these works would at least afford a clear 
idea of the languages mentioned. After his return 
home he continued to pursue these studies unremit- 
tingly, and thus obtained that profound insight into all 
the idioms of the African continent, which gives its 
great and permanent importance to his last long work, 
the Nubian Grammar, to which we shall again refer. 
Lepsius at first devoted himself with special ardor to 
the study of those languages which in his own day 
still flourished on the domain of the ancient Ethiopians, 
because he cherished a firm hope of finding in them the 
key, by which to decipher the popular writing of the 
Ethiopians, many examples of which he had discovered 
on the site of ancient Meroe. This writing is intended 
to be read from right to left, and the words are always 
separated by two points. But its significance is un- 
solved up to the present time. In deciphering the de- 
motic-Ethiopian inscriptions little assistance is to be 
looked for from the Ethiopian-hieroglyphic as, what- 
ever strange variations these may contain, they corres- 
pond almost entirely to the Egyptian, in form as well 
as in the language which underlies them. Like our 
own Latin inscriptions, they are composed in the 
writing and language of an alien people. As we shall 
see, Lepsius afterwards became convinced that the key 
to the Ethiopian-demotic inscriptions of which we 


speak was not to be sought in the Nubian, but in the 
Cushite Bischariba language. 

On the domain of ancient Meroe' everything was 
still to be done, for Cailliaud, through whom the monu- 
ments there had first become known, had seen and de- 
scribed them without technical knowledge of the sub- 
ject. It was, therefore, reserved for Lepsius to dissipate, 
once for all, the popular conjectures of a "splendid 
primeval Meroe," whose inhabitants had been the pre- 
decessors of the Egyptians and their instructors in civ- 
ilization. He proved that all the native monuments 
which had been preserved there dated from a relatively 
late period, which should not be fixed before the time 
of the Ethiopian Pharaohs of the twenty-fifth dynasty. 
The majority, he considered, could be assigned to a 
much later period and had scarcely originated previous 
to the first century before Christ. The little to be 
found dating from an earlier age owed its existence to 
the Pharaohs and their artists. 

The fine granite rams which bear the name of Am- 
enophis III., (eighteenth dynasty), and one of which 
at present adorns the Berlin museum, were transported 
thither at a later period. They came, probably, from 
Soleb. Ninety-two fellahin spent three sultry days in 
dragging down to the Nile on rollers the " fat sheep " 
which weighed one hundred and fifty hundred weight, 
and was to be transported to the Spree. 

Lepsius advised the purchase for the Berlin museum 
of the gold and silver ornaments discovered in 1834, by 
the Italian Romali. They were found in a pyramid at 


Meroe which had a Roman vaulted antechamber. 
This advice Lepsius gave after he recognized that they 
had probably belonged to a specially powerful and 
warlike Ethiopian queen, whose image has been pre- 
served at El-Naga in rich attire, and with pointed 
finger nails, nearly an inch long. At present the orna- 
ments mentioned form one of the embellishments of the 
Egyptian collection at Berlin. 

An entertaining anecdote is connected with the so- 
called Ferlini discovery at Meroe, and with the recol- 
lection of the sojourn of the expedition and their labors 
there. The natives, naturally, could only regard as 
treasure-seekers the strange men who busied themselves 
so indefatigably among the old monuments, who ap- 
plied measuring line and rule to them, covered them 
with wet paper, poured plaster over them, gazed at 
them, note book and pen in hand, and penetrated into 
their innermost recesses. 

When one of our colleagues afterwards visited this 
neighborhood, an old sheik told him that he knew well 
that the King of the Germans had only acquired the 
resources to vanquish the French, through the treasures 
which the Howadji Lepsius had found at Meroe and 
sent back to his native land. 

Lepsius' sojourn in Ethiopia led him to the convic- 
tion, only confirmed by all subsequent investigations, 
that there could have been no ancient and original 
Ethiopian civilization and culture. In respect to this, 
all the reports of the ancients which do not rest upon a 
pure misunderstanding refer only to Egyptian culture 


and art, which, during the dominion of the Hyksos, 
had taken refuge in Ethiopia. The outbreak of the 
Egyptian power from Ethiopia at the founding of the 
New Egyptian Kingdom, and its advance even far into 
Asia, was transferred from the Ethiopian country to the 
Ethiopian people, first in the Asiatic and afterwards in 
the Greek traditions respecting this event; for no 
knowledge had penetrated to the northern peoples of a 
still older Egyptian Kingdom, and its proud but peace- 
ful prime. 

During the long journey which led the expedition 
once more northward, and towards home, and which 
was now uninterrupted by side excursions, a number of 
short inscriptions on the rock were discovered at Sem- 
neh* and Kummeh. These yielded important histori- 
cal information, for they proved that the solicitude of 
Amenemha III. (the Moeris of the Greeks, twelfth dy- 
nasty), for the regulation of the inundation of the Nile 
had extended to this point ; that the Sebekhotep must 
be added, as the thirteenth dynasty, to the twelfth, and 
that four thousand years ago the river rose higher by 
twenty-four feet than it does in our day. 

The principal purpose of the expedition, the one 
which Lepsius ever kept in view, and which decided 
the choice of the monuments to be copied, was histori- 
cal. When he could believe that he had achieved 
everything possible in pursuance of this object, he felt 
that he might consider himself satisfied. If we remem- 
ber this we can easily understand how he was almost 
* Index of Works, No. XXXIV. 


wearied by the examination of those temples belonging 
to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods which he in- 
spected cursorily before coming to Thebes ; these were 
Philae, Kom Ombos, Edfu, Esneh, Erment. We can 
see especially that the inexhaustible but more lately 
built temple of Edfu could detain him but for a dispro- 
portionately short time. But in Thebes, which he 
reached more than two years after leaving Europe, he 
found once more the old delight in, and impulse for, 
research, and he could therefore write, in a letter dated 
November twenty-fourth, 1844; "Here, where the 
Homeric figures of the mighty Pharaohs of the eigh- 
teenth and nineteenth dynasties meet me in all their 
splendor and' magnificence, I feel once more as fresh as 
at the beginning of the journey." And one must credit 
his assurance, and profoundly admire the man's elas- 
ticity and enthusiasm for his task, when one surveys 
the great treasure of inscriptions which he and his as- 
sistants amassed there, and the wealth of admirable 
surveys, maps, sketches, and pictures, which the expe- 
dition found time to execute. Five and a half months 
he devoted to Thebes, and did not leave off until there, 
too, he had attained his purpose, although he was al- 
ready on his homeward way and surrounded by un- 
speakable difficulties and privations, while before him, 
on the contrary, beckoned with outstretched hands 
everything to which his heart clung, and which could 
bring him peace, recreation, honor and spiritual refresh- 

His friend Abeken had been forced to leave him at 


Philae, and although there was no lack of occasional 
European visitors in Thebes, yet it would have been 
natural if his taste for travel had by this time abated. 
But, on the contrary, his passion for research seems 
just then to have gained a new impetus, and the trip 
which he undertook from Thebes to the Peninsula of 
Sinai, after indicating the course to be followed during 
his absence by the members of the expedition in their 
various labors, was begun and carried through as 
though he had just quitted his native land, with an im- 
mense surplus stock of energy and enthusiasm. 

Accompanied only by the younger Weidenbach and 
the necessary servants, he chose to proceed from 
Keneh to the Red Sea, not by the usual caravan route, 
but by the road through the midst of the mountains to 
Gebel-es-Set. This promised to save time, and he 
hoped to find on it something interesting and new. 

In the Wadi Hammamat the Arabs refused to fol- 
low him upon this route, which was destitute of water, 
little known, and not free from danger. But he suc- 
ceeded in inducing them to consent, and came within a 
hair's-breadth of losing his life when, in his search for 
the porphyry quarries, he went astray on Gebel Dukhan, 
the Mons porphyrites of the ancients. But he was not 
the man to resign easily a scientific prize when he be- 
held it before him, and therefore we see him, though 
scarcely escaped from destruction, begin his search 
anew, and once more attain his aim. 

He had ordered a ship to be ready at Gebel-es-Set, 
and thence he went across the Red Sea to Tur. His 


companion, Weidenbach, is now living in Australia, in 
easy circumstances, and we can readily understand the 
sigh with which he declared that this was the most 
fatiguing part of all the journey, when we consider that 
Lepsius was obliged to limit his whole sojourn upon 
the Peninsula of Sinai to the time between the twenty- 
first of March and the sixth of April, and observe, from 
his other Avritings,* as well as the great work on monu- 
ments, all that he accomplished in that period. With 
this must be included, too, all the inscriptions and de- 
signs which he copied. The days began at sunrise, 
and before the travellers lay down to their brief sleep 
in the evening all that had been discovered through 
the day had to be reduced to order and set down in 

Lepsius visited only a small portion of the Peninsula 
of Sinai, but with the exception of the neighborhood of 
Petra, it was the most interesting part, and he explored it 
in every direction with diligence and sagacity. He copied 
or took home with him in the shape of casts whatever 
Egyptian inscriptions or paintings of interest he found 
there, and he afterwards published, from his excellent 
paper casts, many of those incisions upon the rocks of 
the Peninsula of Sinai which are known by the name of 
the Nabathean Inscriptions. The most important eleva- 
tions in that locality were all ascended by him, and he 

* R. Lepsius. Briefe aus Aegypten und Aethiopien. Pages 

329 to 357 and notes. Also Index of Works, Nos. XXXVIII. and 
XXXIX. The biblical-geographical conclusions of Lepsius were con- 
troverted by a certain Kutscheit in a paper as superficial as it was 


took from their summits the points of the compass, for 
the cartographic works to be undertaken in the future. 
His sagacity and erudition established that which the 
king of Oriental travellers, Burckhardt, had suspected 
before him, namely, that the mountain from which the 
Law was given was not the Gebel-Musa group, which 
is at present held to be the Sinai of the Scriptures, but 
the magnificent Serbal. The author of this biography, 
during his own journey to Sinai, was also obliged to 
adopt the view of Lepsius ; he furnished fresh argu- 
ments to confirm it,* and is of the opinion that sooner 
or later it must be generally accepted as correct, in 
spite of the opposition which it still encounters on 
many sides. 

After Lepsius had returned to Thebes from this ex- 
cursion, he wrote to Bunsen : " Fortunately the journey 
to Sinai now lies behind us, and in truth I am heartily 
glad of it, not only because it was the hardest and 
most dangerous part of our whole pilgrimage, but also 
because it presented the most important and difficult 
problems which still remained to be solved on our 
return journey. Now nothing remains but the depart- 
ure from Thebes and from Cairo ; and, this, too, is 
only a question of getting ready to leave, there is 
nothing more of importance to be undertaken. When 
I consider all the material which we have collected in 
the three years it almost terrifies me, for I shall never 

* Ebers. Durch Gosen zum Sinai. Aus dem Wanderbuche 
und der Bibliothek. 2 Aufl. Leipzig, 1882. 


be in a position to work it up, even if we succeed in 
bringing it home." 

Nevertheless, he was afterwards able, as we shall 
see, to make the whole of it accessible to science. 

From the Peninsula of Sinai Lepsius went back to 
Thebes, where he found that his instructions had been 
excellently carried out. Thence he returned to Cairo, 
making only short stops in the places where the most 
important monuments were to be found. On the way 
he met Dr. Bethmann * an old university friend, who 
had come over from Italy, in order to make the return 
journey through Palestine with him. Before his de- 
parture to the Promised Land, Lepsius superintended 
the despatching of the treasures which he had col- 
lected, and the taking apart of the tombs from the 
pyramids to be transported to Berlin. Lastly he 
visited the localities containing the most important 
monuments in the Delta. 

In a letter of the eleventh of July, 1845, he stated 
the plan according to which he hoped to see the Egyp- 
tian antiquities arranged in the new museum at Berlin. 
This was to be on an historical basis, and was after- 
wards executed in the manner proposed. He had 
heard at Cairo, much to his delight, that they had not 
yet begun to build the halls intended for the Egyptian 
department of the new museum at Berlin, and that his 
desire to see every part constructed in the Egyptian 

* Louis Conrad Bethmann, born at Helmstedt, 1812. He was 
one of the collaborators on the " Monumenta Germaniae historica," 
etc. Died in 1867 in Wolfenbüttel, where he was librarian. 


style of architecture might yet be carried out from the 
very foundation. 

" I think," he wrote, " that to produce a generally 
harmonious impression, we must preserve the charac- 
teristic styles of building of the different periods, and 
especially the order of the pillars, in their historical se- 
quence, and also with all their rich colored decora- 

Lepsius still kept his attention fixed upon Egyptian 
antiquity even during his rapid journey through Pales- 
tine, and he was afterwards able to publish,* and also 
to incorporate in his great work on monuments, the 
best copy of the celebrated tablet chiselled on the 
living rock, which commemorates the victory of 
Rameses II. on the Dog river (Nahr-el-Kelb). This is 
the Lycos of the ancients, and lies north of Berytos 

When Lepsius finally turned homewards from 
Smyrna, (he had chosen the route through Constanti- 
nople), much more than three years had passed since 
he first set out upon his journey, and these years had 
been employed in a manner which far exceeded all the 
expectations and hopes of his monarch, his patrons and 
his friends. Not only had the tasks imposed upon 
him been perfectly fulfilled, but the emissary had be- 
thought him upon the way of imposing new ones upon 
himself, and now returned home with an unprecedented 
number of acquisitions in the way of inscriptions, 

* Index of Works, LIV. a. 


maps, works of art and notes on language. The really 
enthusiastic reception which he met with everywhere, 
and especially in Berlin at the beginning of 1846, was 
well deserved. All the newspapers lauded the bril- 
liant achievements of the returning expedition. The 
name of the leader became famous in all countries ; it 
spread far beyond the circle of his professional colla- 
borators and countrymen, and won that world-wide 
celebrity which it will retain as long as historical and 
philological research exist. 

His King, Frederick William IV., was the man to 
recognize the value of his acquistions, and his friend 
and fellow-workman, Bunsen, his patron, A. v. Hum- 
boldt, the Director of the museum, v. Olfers, and 
others, did not grudge due appreciation to the great 
services of the returned traveller. They were able to 
induce their monarch to grant him the means of turn- 
ing to good account the abundance of treasures which 
he had sent home, and of placing them at the disposal 
of the learned world in the best and most appropriate 
manner. Thus, without regard to the enormous ex- 
penses which must be entailed by such an undertaking, 
Lepsius was able to set to work at the preparation of 
the great book on monuments which was to make his 
name immortal, and to give renown to his native land 
and his royal patron. 

As far as his expenses upon the journey were con- 
cerned, he had not exceeded his estimates, and these 
funds had paid for all excavations and purchases. 

k Humboldt considered the journey " cheap beyond 


measure." It had cost altogether thirty-four thousand^ 
six hundred thalers. 

Humboldt estimated the expenses for the publica- 
tion of the store of inscriptions and monuments col- 
lected, as well as the maps and pictures prepared upon 
the journey, at sixty to eighty thousand thalers. Lep- 
sius thought at the time that he had rated it too high, 
but it afterwards proved that it could not be completed 
even for this large sum. The King had received Lep- 
sius most graciously, and never wearied of hearing his 
accounts of his journey and his acquisitions. This is 
confirmed by v. Reumont, and the following extract is 
taken from his book, " The Days of King William in 
Sickness and Health : " " After Lepsius' return (from 
Egypt) in 1846, the importance of the results which he 
had achieved and the beautiful things which he had 
sent home, procured him the most gracious reception 
at court, and he was a frequent and welcome guest 
there, animated and suggestive, clever in relating his 
many experiences, etc." It was therefore natural that 
the king should immediately grant him the fifteen 
thousand thalers, which according to Humboldt's esti- 
mate was the first instalment necessary for the prepara- 
tion of the work on monuments. 



On the twenty-third of August, 1846, Lepsius was 
appointed a regular professor at the Berlin University. 
This was followed, in 1850, by his election as member 
of the Academy of Sciences, and in 1855 by his ap- 
pointment as co-director of the Egyptian museum, in 
conjunction with Passalacqua, who, although a person 
of superficial education, was a good man, and could 
not be set aside. Lepsius thus obtained the necessary 
leisure to devote himself uninterruptedly to the great 
and varied labors which awaited him. 

Now that his probation as a journeyman was com- 
pleted, he established a home of his own, and on the 
fifth of July, 1846, was married to Elizabeth Klein. 
The lovely bride, then eighteen years old, was an or- 
phan, the child of the celebrated musician and com- 
poser of the same name. 

In 1856 were completed the twelve volumes of the 
great work on monuments which Lepsius had been 
commissioned by his king to prepare. At the time 
that he left Egypt he had thought that it would exceed 
his powers. It was published in sixty-two numbers, 
and the eight hundred and ninety-four plates which 
compose them are in folio form, and exceed in size all 
previous works of the kind. The size interferes with 
the convenience of the book for handling, and is the 


sole point to be found fault with in what is otherwise a 
model production. The late Mariette once said to us 
in jest : " One needs a corporal and four soldiers to 
use your Lepsius' ' Monuments,' " and it is true that 
these twelve gigantic volumes demand too much 
physical strength, and too much space on the study- 
table, when one is obliged to consult them one after 
another. Yet the labor is substantially lessened by the 
incomparable order in which the author has arranged 
them. " The Monuments of Egypt and Ethiopia " * 
embrace all the archaeological, palaeographic and his- 
torical acquisitions of the expedition. They contain 
the prodigious wealth of hieroglyphic, Greek and other 
written records which the travellers collected on the 
way, in addition to maps, sketches, landscapes and 
architectural pictures, many of which are finely exe- 
cuted in colors. 

The thousands of sheets of paper containing the 
impressions taken in Egypt, from which the majority of 
the inscriptions were copied and transferred to the 
lithographic stone, are preserved in the Egyptian mu- 
seum as valuable documents. Let it be noted here 
that Lepsius was the first to apply successfully and 
efficiently this excellent method of copying by means 
of paper impressions. It is now, however, only on 
rare occasions of minor importance that the investi- 
gator finds it necessary to refer to the original impres- 
sions of the expedition, so wonderfully accurate are 
the reproductions of them. In the great publications 

* See Index of Works, No. XLV. 


of Champollion and Rosellini, (page 78) we fre- 
quently find alterations and inaccuracies on comparing 
them with the monuments, but in the " Monuments " 
of Lepsius such defects are almost unknown. Yet still 
greater commendation is due to the classification of the 
immense material comprised in this inexhaustible mine. 
There is scarcely the least change to be made in the 
historical sequence of these hundreds of closely filled 
plates, although later researches and excavations have 
furnished much that is new, and many details have 
been elucidated by the monographic works of Egypt- 
ologists since 1850. Before his departure for the 
Orient Lepsius had already examined the succession of 
the Egyptian dynasties. Amidst the monuments of the 
Nile he succeeded in finding answers to all that had 
appeared questionable to him while in Europe, and in 
thus bringing light into darkness. While carrying for- 
ward his work on the " Monuments " he also estab- 
lished a scientific groundwork for all the knowledge 
which he had previously accumulated, and was thus 
able to assign their correct places to the ruling families 
or dynasties, and to the several Pharaohs among them. 
It was easy to give their proper positions to the latter, 
as in the historical inscriptions are recorded the names 
of the Pharaohs under whom they were made. For 
such as were not dated the ingenuity and experience of 
the savant fixed their correct places according to the 
indications of style, or on palaeographic or other 

To the inquiry which of the achievements of Lep- 


sius we consider the greatest, we do not hesitate to 
answer, the classification of his " Monuments," when 
we consider the lamentable condition of Egyptian his- 
torical research at the time when it was produced, and 
the prodigious amount of new information to be re- 
duced to order. In this work we see him surmount the 
mass of material which had been collected by his own 
energy, and transform the chaotic whole into a beauti- 
ful and faultlessly-proportioned organism. He never 
loses his broad outlook over the entire field, and never- 
theless he gives the smallest detail its due with painstak- 
ing consciousness. We discern the divine likeness most 
clearly in a great man when he keeps in view the great 
whole, and yet does not disdain to give heed to small 
things; like the eternal and mysterious power which 
prescribes their wide and immutable orbits to the stars, 
and yet forgets not to give its antennae to the tiny in- 

This colossal work is accompanied by no explana- 
tory text,* and the excellence of the classification 
makes it easy to dispense with one. Each separate in- 
scription can only be sought for in the place where it 
occurs, and the marginal notes inform us as to the 
locality whence it came, and the ruler under whom it 
originated. Whoever wishes to know to what period 
the Pharaoh in question should be assigned, must con- 
sult the Book of Kings, which was begun by Lepsius 

* The comments upon his work on monuments, given in the ses- 
sions of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, only refer to special points. 


at an early date, and completed in 1859. He will there 
rind the desired information. 

In the middle of the fiftieth year of this century, 
the time had not yet come for giving continuous and 
exact translations of great hieroglyphic texts, and 
therefore the editor of the " Monuments " wisely ab- 
stained from doing so. Such an undertaking would also 
have far exceeded the powers of one person. Even 
now an abundance of difficult problems are still pre- 
sented to Egyptian philology, great as are the advances 
which that has made, by this unparalleled corpus i?isc?ip- 
tionum. It contains the most important Egyptian in- 
scriptions, from the mosf'ancient times up to the period 
of the Roman emperors, classified in the most rigor- 
ously systematic manner. 

The " Monuments " is, and must ever remain, the 
chief and most fundamental work for the study of 

Its classification presupposes a deeper study into 
the history of the Pharaohs hitherto unheard of. We 
have seen how, when a journeyman, Lepsius de- 
voted himself by preference to the study of historical 
monuments, and while in Egypt he everywhere laid 
the greatest stress upon this. 

As a master workman too, after his return to Berlin 
in 1846, he remained faithful to his historical bias. He 
had at his disposal, in complete shape, all that was fur- 
nished by the monuments in the way of historical in- 
formation. The systematic arrangement of the work 
on monuments which he had in view already imposed 


upon him the task of restoring in a critical manner the 
mam skeleton of history, (chiefly Egyptian,) and of 
ascertaining the periods of time which separate the 
chief historical events from each other and from our 
own age. In other words, he was obliged to devote 
himself with all his energy to the study of Egyptian 

As a matter of course the monuments were always 
the foundation from which he proceeded, but it was 
also necessary to consult and to fix the worth of such 
other historical records as were in existence. 

Amongst these the highest rank was held by the 
Egyptian history of Manetho of Sebennytos. This had 
been written, or was said to have been written, for 
Ptolemny II. Philadelphus (285 — 247 B.C.) by Manetho, 
an Egyptian priest familiar with the Greek tongue. 
During the Christian era several other works, (the 
Book of Sothis and the Old Chronicle), were falsely at- 
tributed to this writer. The heathen Greeks had held 
the histories of the priestly scholar in little esteem, but, 
except by the Jew Flavius Josephus, they were dili- 
gently used by chronographers of the Christian era in 
their efforts to establish a chronological reckoning for 
the legendary and historical events in the Old Testa- 
ment. Amongst these writers are found the lists of the 
Egyptian kings compiled by the Sebennite, with an es- 
timate of the duration of their reigns. But there is a 
frequent disagreement in the facts as given by them, 
for each individual chronographer adapted the figures 
to his own system, and altered them arbitrarily to suit 


his special purposes. Therefore the fragmentary infor- 
mation gathered from Manetho as to the succession of 
rulers can only be used with great prudence. Lepsius 
submitted these statements, as well as other accounts of 
Egyptian history occurring in the classics (Hecateus of 
Miletus, Herodotus, Hecateus of Abdera, Diodorus, 
etc.), to a severe criticism, in the attempt to separate 
the genuine work of Manetho from all that had been 
interpolated or perverted in his writings. As a result 
of Lepsius' supposition that some of the ruling families 
enumerated in the lists did not reign successively, but 
contemporaneously, he arrived at the conclusion that 
Manetho would reckon the duration of Egyptian his- 
tory, from the first King Menes to the end of the reign 
of Nectanebus II,* at three thousand five hundred and 
fifty-five years, and that the accession of Menes to the 
throne should therefore be fixed at 3892 B. C. On the 
correctness of this computation he insisted up to the 
time of his death, and by the aid of his innate fine 
mathematical sense he showed the connection between 
this and the other calculations, as subtle as they are 
clever, which lie at the basis of his system of reckon- 

Rosellini's industrious attempt to compile an Egyp- 
tian history was of little service to him, but he found 
many fruitful ideas in Bunsen's fine publication.** This 
had been meantime completed with the advisory aid of 

* King in opposition during the period of the supremacy of the 
Persian empire over Egypt. 

** J. Bunsen, Aegyptens Stelle in der Weltgeschichte [Egypt's 
Place in Universal History] Hamburg, 1845. Fortsetzung 1856-57. 


the able English Egyptologist S. Birch, and Lepsius 
himself had furnished many contributions to it. No 
less a man than Boeckh * had, a short time before, 
addressed himself to a criticism of Manetho, incited 
thereto partly by Champollion's and partly by his own 
investigations. In France, also, Biot,** Lesueur and . 
Nolan had published able works on Egyptian chron- 
ology. Ideler's hand-book, which came out in 1825, 
was still highly esteemed, although this acute but far 
too versatile scholar was entirely ignorant of the monu- 

Lepsius had the advantage over his predecessors in 
his comprehensive knowledge of all the monuments, 
and his understanding of hieroglyphic writing. He 
took his stand upon the monuments, and on this founda- 
tion which at that time was a safe and favorable one 
for him alone, he labored w T ith perfect independence, 
but without overlooking the prior works mentioned 
above. These, however, in most cases he was forced 
to controvert. As far as the chronology of Bunsen was 
concerned, he was obliged to shake it to the founda- 
tions, and he found himself forced to apply critical 
standards very different from those of his learned friend 
to the lists of Eratosthenes, the value of which, as we 
know, the latter had far over-estimated. Although on 
this account he naturally arrived at results which con- 
tradicted those of Bunsen, yet he dedicated to him the 

* A. Boeckh, Manetho und die Hundssternperiode. [Manetho 
and the Dogstar Period.] Berlin 1845. 
** See page 83. 


great work,* the first volume of which was published 
in 1849, in the midst of his arduous labors in editing 
the " Monuments." The second and third volumes 
originally planned by him remained unwritten. While 
the first volume was mainly occupied with criticism of 
the authorities, the two latter were to have contained 
the applications and proofs in detail. All these are now 
to be found in the folio volume of text which accom- 
panies the plates of the " Book of Kings "** previously 
mentioned. In the beautiful dedication of his chron- 
ology to Bunsen, he declared that he offered him this 
work as " a public token of gratitude." Lepsius knew 
that Bunsen, like himself, had only the truth at heart, 
and agreed with him that the final truth could only be 
attained by a keen comparison of all possible differ- 
ences of opinion. Such differences of opinion existed 
between Bunsen and Lepsius, but, however candidly 
they were expressed, they had no power to shake the 
real attachment of these two men. 

Unlike Bunsen's great book, Lepsius' work was not 
intended to establish the place of Egypt in universal 
history, but only in the external frame thereof, the an- 
nals of time. It made no attempt to be a history, but 
was a chronology solely. The problem involved is 
solved in the first volume of which we speak, and is 
treated in an original and at the same time broad man- 
ner. Here, as elsewhere, Lepsius never loses cogniz- 

* Die Chronologie der Aegypter. [The Chronology of the 
Egyptians.] Index of Works. No. XLYI. 
** Index of works. No. LXVI. 


ance of the general aspect of his subject, whilst always 
carefully and even lovingly considering the smallest de- 
tail and assigning it its place as a part and factor of the 

He first critizes the chronology of the Romans, the 
Greeks, the Hindoos, the Chaldeans in Babylon, the 
Chinese and the Hebrews. In so doing he makes it 
clear that among all these nations the conditions for a 
very early computation of time were lacking, and 
proves that no nation and no country possessed more 
favorable conditions for an early chronology and history 
than the Egyptian. He then proceeds to consider the 
astronomical basis of the Egyptian chronology, and 
goes thoroughly into the question of the divisions of 
time employed by the ancient Egyptians. Here, in 
addition to the monuments, which he always considers 
as of the first importance, he cites the classic authors, 
and ascends in regular progression from the smaller 
divisions of time, the thirds, seconds and minutes, to 
the days, weeks, months, intercalary days and years. 
He dwells for some time upon these latter, and explains 
with remarkable clearness his views regarding the vague 
year and the fixed year of Sirius. After these funda- 
mental principles are established he turns his attention 
to the longer periods of time, beginning with the Apis 
period of twenty-five years, and concluding with the 
conjecture that the Egyptians possessed the knowledge 
of a longest astronomical period of revolution of 
thirty-six thousand years. According to our reckoning 
this should undoubtedly be only twenty-six thousand 


years, yet the period given can be recognized in the 
thirty-six thousand five hundred and twenty-five years 
which Syncellus alleges to have been the Egyptian 
period of universal apocatastasis of the heavens. 

He then reviews the Egyptian calendar, its intro- 
duction and reforms. Although no one knows so well 
as he that events are commonly reckoned upon the 
monuments, not from an era, but according to the years 
of the separate reigns, he attempts to prove that the 
Sothiac cycle of one thousand four hundred and sixty 
years had been used as an era for such purposes as 
necessitated the conception of a longer distinct period 
of time. 

To many of our readers the words " Sothiac cycle " 
and " year of Sirius " will be but empty sounds. We 
will therefore give an explanation of them, in accord- 
ance with our promise to be intelligible even to the 
general reader. Let us adhere as closely as possible to 
the statement of Lepsius himself! — In the Egyptian 
heavens was visible a sidereal phenomenon which in a 
very remarkable manner corresponded perfectly, except 
for a mere trifle, to the Julian year of three hundred 
and sixty-five and a quarter days. It continued for 
more than three thousand years, and in fact was pre- 
cisely coeval with the duration of the Egyptian empire. 
This was the heliacal rising of Sirius ; that is, the reap- 
pearance of Sirius, the brightest fixed star, before 
sunrise. For a time this star was invisible, on ac- 
count of its rising simultaneously with the sun. The 
early rise of which we speak occurred regularly one 


day later at the expiration of every four (civil) years of 
three hundred and sixty-five days, which was the 
simple basis on which the Egyptian calendar had been 
established at an early period. Thus when the New 
Year's day of the fixed year of three hundred and sixty- 
five and a quarter days fell upon the first of the New 
Year's month (Thot) of the civil year of three hundred 
and sixty-five days, then, after four fixed years, it fell 
upon the second of the New Year's month, Thot, after 
2x4 upon the third, after 3X4 upon the fourth of 
Thot, and so on. After 365x4, that is, when, after 
one thousand four hundred and sixty fixed years, it 
had run through all the days of the civil year, the next 
New Year's day of the fixed year fell once more upon 
the first of the New Year's month Thot, and the two 
forms of the year had thus readjusted themselves, so 
that one thousand, four hundred and sixty fixed years 
of three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days 
were exactly equivalent to one thousand, four hundred 
and sixty-one civil years of three hundred and sixty- 
five days. We cannot here take cognizance of the 
slight error which resulted from the fact that the true 
solar year does not exactly amount to three hundred 
•and sixty-five days and six hours, but only to three 
hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, forty-eight 
minutes and forty-eight seconds; nor can we now 
speak of the compensation therefor. In any case, it 
follows from what has been said that the Egyptians, 
during their whole history, had in their year of Sirius, 
computed according to the heliacal or early ascension 


of that star, the most perfect sidereal model ever pos- 
sessed by any nation for their simple annual reckoning 
of the year of three hundred and sixty-five and a quar- 
ter days. Therefore Lepsius is right when he main- 
tains that the Egyptians had a perfectly exact astro- 
nomical period in the Sothiac cycle of 4 x 365 ; that is, 
in the one thousand, four hundred and sixty years of 
Sirius, during which the civil year, shorter by a quarter 
of a day, readjusted itself by being renewed one thou- 
sand four hundred and sixty-one times. 

Thus closes, on page 240, this full and noble intro- 
duction. The review of the authorities then begins. 
After a preliminary survey of these, Herodotus and 
Diodorus undergo a searching criticism, which proves 
the uselessness of these authors for chronological pur- 
poses. In the subsequent chapters Lepsius exerts him- 
self to show the relation of the Egyptian to the ancient 
Hebrew chronology, and he rightly applies to the Bi- 
blical reckoning the same rules of criticism which he 
has employed in regard to that contained in secular 
writings. In so doing he proceeds on the sole tenable 
principle that the truth discovered in the course of the 
healthy development of any science cannot be opposed 
to Christian truth, but must rather promote it. " For 
all the truths in the world," he says, " have from the 
very beginning presented a union and solidarity against 
all untruth and error. But in order scientifically to 
separate truth from error in any department, theology 
possesses no other method than that which belongs to 
every other science; namely, rational and cautious 


criticism. Whatever this may affirm, it is only possible 
to amend or refute by a criticism which is still better 
and more cautious." 

To him, as to us, the practical religious significance 
which the Old Testament must have for every Chris- 
tian reader, seems to have no connection with the re- 
corded dates regarding early periods of time of which 
the authors and compilers of ,those Scriptures could 
have had no exact knowledge, except by means of a 
purposeless inspiration. 

" Science must be pursued with reverence and free- 
dom." With these beautiful words of Bunsen, Lepsius 
agreed, and he demanded reverence for all that was 
venerable, holy, noble, great and well-proved, and 
claimed freedom wherever it was a question of attain- 
ing and declaring the truth and his own conviction 
thereof. This noble principle he also impressed upon 
his disciples, and we would like to recall it to the 
memory of those younger men who, in our day, so 
readily absolve themselves from all that goes by the 
name of "reverence," and hold themselves so much 
the greater and stronger if they can succeed in shaking 
that which is established, in detecting a blemish upon 
greatness, or discerning a spot upon the source of light. 
They have received criticism as an inheritance; but 
there is only too good foundation for the complaint 
often repeated by Lepsius, that by them the noblest of 
all weapons is wielded sacrilegiously, and with special 
delight for the purposes of destruction. They can 
learn from the Master, who prescribed the method for 


a whole science, and aided to erect its mighty edifice, 
that it is possible to practise reverence and gratitude, 
and yet maintain one's own opinion with manly inde- 
pendence, and attack error with the sharpest criticism. 

The last and perhaps the most important portion of 
the " Chronology " is occupied with Manetho and the 
authorities which can be traced back to him, and also 
with the relation of these authorities to each other. A 
special chapter is also devoted to Eratosthenes and 

This work embraces the whole foundation of Egyp- 
tian chronology, and indicates the methods according 
to which all chronological investigations, no matter in 
what direction, should be conducted. The detached 
historical-chronological researches on special subjects * 
which followed the " Chronology " are so many model 
specimens of the consistent application of this method. 

In the " Chronology " itself the fine and thorough 
humanistic training of its author is manifested in a 
specially happy manner. There are modern scholars 
who, as students, confine themselves to their special 
provinces, and, peasant-like, do not look beyond the 
space where they plow and sow and reap. These may 
learn from Lepsius how, without straying too far afield, 
it may yet be possible to establish a connection be- 
tween that which they themselves have gained, and 
the acquisitions which have been made in other and 

* Index of Works, Nos. XLIX.. LI., Lla., LIL, LIIL. LX., 


kindred departments of science. They may observe 
how details can be treated in the most thorough and 
fundamental manner, without losing cognizance of the 
whole. Lepsius was an able philologist, linguist, arch- 
aeologist and historian, before he became an Egyptolo- 
gist. From an acquaintance with the main principles 
of science, and from broad generalities, he descended 
gradually and without a break to a knowledge of the 
separate parts. Vulgar learning amasses the material 
of knowledge, and leaves all that has been thus ac- 
quired heaped together in confusion ; genuine learning 
proceeds from the general to the special, connects the 
details with the whole, and always subjects the former 
to the latter. It was thus that the scientific activity of 
Lepsius was exercised, and if we inquire what it was 
that elevated him above even the most industrious and 
ingenious of his fellow workers, we find that he owed 
his lofty position to his truly scientific method of de- 
velopment, research and work. This makes his pro- 
ductions a true system of learning, in contrast with the 
knowledge amassed by so many others who have 
labored without regard to the general principles ani- 
mating the whole. 

Thence, too, it results that his " Chronology " is- 
available for every purpose, and is employed as a guide 
and source of instruction, not only by the Egyptologist, 
but also by every historian who wishes to devote him- 
self to the study, either of the chronology of all nations, 
or of any special people. Although many of the de- 
tails of this work may have become disputable and un- 


tenable in consequence of the latest advances of 
science, yet for all time to come it must remain the 
starting point whence all investigations in this domain 
are forced to proceed. 

In spite of the manifold and profound researches on 
which this work was based, and in spite of the time 
and strength demanded by the editing of the " Monu- 
ments," Lepsius, during the years following his return 
to his native land, himself superintended the embellish- 
ment of those rooms in the new museum at Berlin 
which were destined to hold the Egyptian collection. 
He also attended personally to the arrangement and 
cataloguing of the collection. He took peculiar pleas- 
ure in this work, and pursued it with indefatigable zeal„ 

The aged Passalacqua, a man eager for knowledge, 
had gone to Egypt in the capacity of a merchant, and 
had afterwards made himself acquainted, as a dillet- 
tante, with the discoveries and works of Champollion. 
He now filled, " conscientiously and with pleasure to 
himself," the post of superintendent of the collection of 
monuments and relics which he had brought from the 
Nile. Frederick William iy. in buying his collection 
had taken him with it into the bargain ; no one wished 
to remove him from his position, and thus it came to 
pass that Lepsius could only be appointed co-director 
in 1855, and it was not until 1865, that he was appointed 
chief superintendent. 

The Berlin collection of Egyptian antiquities con- 
sisted of the collections of v. Minutoli, Passalacqua, v. 
Koller and Bartholdv. Prior to its removal to the new 


museum it had been lodged in the palace of Monbijou, 
and while there had received many additions, especially 
by the purchase of the third collection of Drovetti. 
This man, who had been French consul-general at Al- 
exandria under Napoleon I., had some time before col- 
lected the rich stores which now form the Egyptian 
museum at Turin. (See pages 93 and 132.) He had 
already sold another smaller collection, (See page 97), 
to King William IV., upon the solicitation of Lepsius 
and in consequence of his intervention. Bunsen only 
concluded the purchase in 1837, as the authorized agent 
ofthat prince. In 1839, there was added to the Berlin 
collection that of the state-counsellor Saulnier at Paris, 
and in 1843, that of d'Athanasi at London. From the 
pamphlet published in 1880, entitled "History of the 
Royal Museum at Berlin,"* and from the portion of the 
same dedicated to Dr. S. Stern of the Egyptian depart- 
ment, we learn that there were already five thousand 
numbers in that department in the year 1849, that is, 
previous to the incorporation of the treasures which 
Lepsius sent home from Egypt. 

The expedition whose, travels and labors we have 
recorded had sent home not less than fifteen thousand 
Egyptian antiquities and plaster casts. Especially 
valuable among these were the three tombs already 
mentioned from the necropolis of ancient Memphis on 
the plain of the pyramids at el-Gizeh, as well 'as many 

"* This pamphlet, dedicated to the Crown Prince Frederick Wil- 
liam, was published August third, 1880, on the celebration of the 
fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Royal Museum at Berlin. 


sculptures and inscriptions from other tombs of the Old 
Kingdom. The colored portraits of Amenophis I. and 
his celebrated mother Nefertari, long worshipped as 
divine, are also of great importance. These the expe- 
dition took, together with the fragment upon which 
they were painted, from a tomb. They also took a 
pillar from the tomb of Seti I. Both of these monu- 
ments came from Thebes. With them and with a 
column taken from the temple of Philae was connected 
the reproach brought against the expedition of having 
destroyed venerable monuments to further their own 
special purposes. Against this accusation we have 
hitherto defended the expedition in perfectly good faith, 
but unfortunately, as far as the pillar from the splendid 
tomb of Seti was concerned, there was some foundation 
for the charge. Of the other acquisitions of Lepsius 
we will also name an obelisk and many columns from 
tombs, a portrait in relief of Thothmes III., a colossal 
bust of King Horus, the naophore statue of Prince 
Setau-an, an altar from Ben-Naga, and, in addition, the 
ram sphinx from Mount Boreal mentioned on page 156. 
Together with these were numerous monuments from 
Meroe, many of which were covered with those Ethio- 
pian-demotic inscriptions, the key to which is still want- 
ing. He also sent home several beautiful sarcophagi of 
stone and wood, the tablet of Moschion, with a Greek- 
demotic inscription, many bricks with the stamp of the 
Pharaohs of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, 
and finally, in addition to numerous lesser relics, valu- 
able papyri. 


The casts taken by the expedition while on the Nile 
were intended to complete the collection of casts begun, 
by the advice of Lepsius. Large and fortunate addi- 
tions were afterwards made to this collection, and its 
founder always, and with justice, attributed great im- 
portance to it. By means of these casts it was possible 
to supply in an available and desirable manner the in- 
evitable deficiencies with respect to an historical se- 
quence of the original monuments. Other museums 
imitated that of Berlin in instituting collections of casts. 
The finishing and painting of the halls which had been 
renovated for the Egyptian collection were begun and 
completed under the superintendence of Lepsius, who 
had entire liberty in the matter. In every respect it 
was done to correspond with those ideas and wishes 
which he had already expressed in Cairo. All the de- 
mands of the Egyptian style were observed in the three 
halls at his disposal, and the walls, pillars and ceilings 
received that decorative and highly-colored pictorial 
ornament with which the temples and tombs of the 
time of the Pharaohs are adorned. The most 
interesting pictures from the tombs and sanctuaries on 
the Nile were reproduced here, and Ernest Weiden- 
bach, upon whom devolved the execution of the mul- 
titude of paintings selected and arranged by Lepsius, 
performed the task with that delicate feeling for the 
characteristics of Egyptian style which was peculiar to 
himself. They had at their disposal the rooms situated 
in the northern half of the ground floor of the new 
museum. The entrance leads immediately into the 


anteroom, where a column from Philae with a palm 
capital is stationed. If one turns thence towards the 
hall adjoining on the right, one has before him a series 
of rooms which can in some measure represent the 
chief divisions of an Egyptian temple ; vestibule, hy- 
postyle and sanctuary. In an Egyptian temple the 
court was usually surrounded by colonnades, whose 
architraves contained the dedication of the building. 
In the midst stood an altar. Behind these sacred 
halls there were smaller rooms, the last of which, in 
the axis of the building, was the sanctuary containing 
the statue of the god of the temple. In a general way 
the rooms of the Berlin Egyptian collection correspond 
to this customary arrangement. They contain the court,, 
covered with glass and surrounded by columns, the 
hypostyle adjoining, and the ceila in the background. 
At the side of this central temple lie three main rooms ;. 
to the right are the mythological hall and the hall of 
tombs, while the historical hall extends along the whole 
length of the left side. 

Let us turn first to those rooms situated on the 
right and towards the east ; these are the mythological 
hall and the hall of tombs. In the former are ar- 
ranged the sarcophagi and coffins, and the spectator is 
there impressed by that serious mood so easily awak- 
ened in our souls by objects which remind us solely of 
death. There he finds himself in the company of the 
gods, and every picture on the walls relates to them, 
and is connected with the mythological tenets of the 
most religious of all peoples. The divine constella- 


tions of the Egyptian heavens look down upon the 
visitor from the ceiling, as in the great passages of the 
rock tombs and the consecrated halls of the temples. 
Every picture has its astronomical and mythological 
significance. In the rear portion of this space, which 
is partitioned off, is the hall of tombs, and here are the 
tomb chambers from Memphis, and the other monu- 
ments of the Old Kingdom. 

The middle hall is divided into the portico, the hy- 
postylic hall, and the sanctuary of an Egyptian temple. 
The portico, which lies to the south, and which in 
Egypt is covered only by the bright blue arch of 
heaven, is intended to arouse in the spectator the sen- 
sation of being still in the open air. Therefore the 
beautiful landscapes with which modern artists have 
adorned the walls, and which remind us of the most 
remarkable localities and the sites of the most venerable 
monuments of Egypt, are extremely appropriate here, 
where are also grouped the colossal statues and sepul- 
chral stele. In the hypostylic portion of this hall the 
paintings transport us among the subjects of the Pha- 
raohs, and numerous illustrations of the private life of 
the old Egyptians make us familiar with the high and 
peculiar culture which took root and blossomed in the 
valley of the Nile much earlier than in any other spot 
on earth. Carefully-selected papyri are hung on the 
walls of this room. In the sanctuary, which lies alto- 
gether to the north, stands the statue of King Horus. 

The third or historic hall, (to the left or west,) is 
adorned with pictures connected with the history of the 


kingdom of the Pharaohs, and also with representations 
of battles by land and water. The long series of ovals 
inscribed with the names of the old royal rulers of the 
Nile valley in hieroglyphics, form a suitable decoration, 
and attract the eye of all who are desirous of knowl- 
edge. Those monuments which are distinguished for 
their historical importance are arranged here in order 
according to the time of their origin. The plaster casts 
are in a special room beside the vestibule, and are be- 
ginning more and more to overflow it. 

If the Egyptian museum in Berlin has long been 
among the most famous in the world, on account of the 
wealth of treasures there preserved, it has also gained a 
value peculiar to itself from the historical ideas intro- 
duced and carried out by Lepsius. There we see ex- 
hibited the artistic epochs of Egyptian history arranged 
in groups according to their chronological succession. 
Yet at the same time the effort to keep together objects 
which are mutually connected, such as sarcophagi and 
coffins, has been successful. Also, where it was neces- 
sary to form distinct divisions, the historical method 
has been applied within the limits of each separate group. 

There can be but one opinion as to the propriety 
and the scientific advantages of Lepsius' historical 
method of classification ; but the decoration of the 
rooms in the Berlin museum by no means meets with 
such universal approbation. It is indeed conceded 
that it is in the best possible taste, and is both beautiful 
and attractive, but it is maintained by many people 
that the pictorial representation on the walls, that is, 


the accessories, draw the attention of the visitor too 
strongly and distract him from the contemplation of 
the monuments, which are certainly the real objects of 

There is some reason for this objection ; but yet 
these pictures serve the immediate purpose of bringing 
visitors to the collection and it is this very decoration 
of the Berlin-Egyptian museum which renders it pe- 
culiarly attractive. 

Whoever goes there with any knowledge of the 
monuments will pay attention to them, and not to the 
decorations of the hall. But the layman will there be- 
come interested in the culture and artistic ability of the 
old Egyptians, as he would not do in a museum where 
the monuments stand in bare halls, and have to speak 
entirely for themselves. The pictures attract him, and 
at the same time introduce him to Egyptian antiquity. 
They make him familiar, in a trustworthy manner, with 
the Egyptian civilization from whose soil have sprung 
the works of art there assembled. They teach him to 
understand the connection between these and the or- 
ganic whole of which they are the separate parts, and, 
in many cases, the most beautiful blossoms. In one 
place there are pictorial representations, and in another 
monuments, to direct and instruct the visitor so that he 
may comprehend every stage of the development of 
this great whole. Whoever enters these rooms with a 
mind open and alert will soon perceive the relation be- 
tween the decorative pictures and the monuments, and 
will easily succeed in connecting them with the depart- 


ments of Egyptian life and activity to which they be- 
long. He will transport the coffin, upon which he can 
lay his hands, into the funeral procession shown him in 
the painting; when he gazes up at a colossus he will 
place it mentally in that spot at the temple gate where 
it really belongs, according to the picture on the wall. 
Indeed, the decorative paintings will show him the 
Egyptian artist at his work, and the prince whose 
monument stands before him upon his war chariot in 
the tumult of battle. They will make him familiar 
with the gods who are mentioned in the hieroglyphic 
texts of coffins, stele and papyri. Thus these paintings 
possess great value for instructive and illustrative pur- 
poses, apart from the attraction which they present to 
the eye, and the appearance, as peculiar as it is pleas- 
ing, which they lend to the halls of the museum. 
Therefore we would not willingly be without them. 
He, who permits himself to be distracted from the 
monuments by them, will yet not have visited the mu- 
seum in vain, but will have learned something authen- 
tic and interesting concerning Egyptian antiquity. 

By the beginning of the year 1850 the arrange- 
ment of the Egyptian relics in the new museum was 
completed, and after Passalacqua's death, when Lep- 
sius had officially assumed the management of the col- 
lection, he caused Ernest Weidenbach to be employed 
as assistant in the Egyptian department. He also im- 
mediately drew up a full description of the pictures on 
the wails,* for the use of visitors to the museum, and 

* Index of Works. Xos. LV, and LVI. 

I 9 2 


afterwards prepared a little catalogue.* In 1878, he 
had the larger monuments furnished with short explana- 
tory labels. After his appointment as chief librarian he 
nominated Dr. L. Stern as first assistant superintendent. 
Dr. Stern aided him in all his labors concerning the 
museum with diligence, judgment and technical knowl- 
edge ; he was an able Egyptologist and had a thorough 
knowledge of the Coptic language. The Egyptian 
collection received continual additions under the direc- 
tion of Lepsius, and the complaisance with which he 
placed its treasures at the sen-ice of foreign scholars 
was universally recognized. 

As an academical instructor Lepsius also manifested 
the high intellectual qualities and admirable ability 
peculiar to himself. His first lecture was delivered on 
the twenty-ninth of October. 1846, and related to the 
condition of Egyptological science in France and Italy, 
compared with what had been accomplished on the 
same field in Germany. It went off excellently, and 
amongst his hundred auditors appeared officials of high 
rank and military men. As his lectures proceeded he 
took advantage on their account of the collection in- 
trusted to his care, and we remember with pleasure the 
weekly lectures which he read amongst the monuments 
in the halls of the museum. The special discourses de- 
livered in the directors room were usually succeeded by 
rambles through the museum, as instructive as they 
were interesting. 

The public lectures in the museum attracted 

Index of Works. No. LVII. 


students from all the faculties, but the private lectures, 
which he delivered at his own house to a few youthful 
scholars who desired to devote themselves to the study 
of Egyptology, were models as regarded the well-con- 
sidered arrangement of the material. Amongst them 
we must praise as especially instructive the historical 
and chronological lectures. These were attended with 
profit by many young students of history. The purely 
grammatical lectures were confined to the ancient 
Egyptian grammar, and only incidentally touched upon 
the hieratic or the later linguistic forms of speech of the 
demotic and Coptic. His delivery was always simple, 
and nevertheless the surpassing faculty of judgment and 
the severe critical method of the teacher always en- 
chained the attention of his hearers. The material was 
always as copious as the arrangement was excellent. 

Lepsius gave to the writer of this biography the 
strongest proof of the seriousness with which he re- 
garded his office of instructor and the lovely benevo- 
lence which was united with his other great qualities. 
When a young and enthusiastic student I was obliged 
by illness to keep the house during a whole winter 
term, and I shall be forever grateful to Lepsius for the 
great and rare kindness with which he visited me on a 
certain day of every week, and went over the essential 
parts of the lectures of which my illness had deprived 
me. These private lectures, or rather these lessons 
when the pupil worked under the direction of the mas- 
ter, for which of course no material equivalent could be 
given, are among my most delightful memories, and a 


more liberal gift I have never received. Those of his 
scholars who afterwards rendered special service to 
Egyptology were J. Diimichen, professor at Strasburg, 
and E. Naville, the eminent Genoese Egyptologist. A. 
Erment, professor at Berlin, and A. Wiedemann, pri- 
vate lecturer at Bonn, attended his lectures during sub- 
sequent terms. The younger Egyptologists educated 
by me at Leipsic, he liked to call his " grandpupils." 

At that time, and indeed in 1856, there was sub- 
mitted to the Berlin Academy and offered to it for 
sale, by professor Dindorf of Leipsic, a pahmpsest 
containing the work of Uranius mentioned by Stephen 

Of Byzantium, Alyvirfitav ßatnXiwv avaypafytav ßiß\oi rpei?, (three 

books of lists of the Egyptian kings). Up to that time 
this had been supposed lost. On the first examination, 
at which Lepsius was present, there appeared to be no 
reason to doubt the genuineness of the manuscript. It 
was written between the lines of a genuine text of 
the twelfth century. The traits of the Greek uncial 
writing, skilfully reproduced in the style of the first 
centuries after Christ, would not be suspected by a 
palaeographer of the present day, although it is now 
proved that the codex is a counterfeit. When it was 
learned that the manuscript belonged to the Greek 
Simonides of ill-repute, some doubts were raised, and 
yet the rediscovery of the Uranius would have been of 
such eminent importance for the historical and chrono- 
logical studies in which Lepsius was then engaged, 
that he furnished from his own pocket half the price, 
as a deposit in order to secure it for Berlin and for 


himself. Dindorf had declared that in consequence of 
an agreement with Simonides he could not leave the 
manuscript behind in Berlin for closer inspection 
without such a deposit. This examination was com- 
mitted to Lepsius, and on searching more thoroughly 
the lists of kings which Simonides represented to be 
those of Uranius, he soon found there could be no 
question but that he had before him a bold and unpre- 
cedently skilful counterfeit. Indisputable arguments 
were soon added to the internal reasons which had led 
Lepsius to this conviction, and it then became a ques- 
tion of recovering from the counterfeiter his plunder of 
twenty-five thousand thalers. In this Lepsius was suc- 
cessful, owing to the cleverness and prudence of 
Stieber, the chief of police, who accompanied him to 
Leipsic. Thus the Berlin library was protected from 
loss and imposition, and science from unspeakable 
confusion, through the sagacity of our friend. Lepsius 
himself furnished information as to the particulars of 
this affair in a clear and exhaustive explanation.* 
Simonides appears to have continued to drive his trade 
as a counterfeiter, for it is hardly possible that it was 
any one else than he who produced the manuscript of 
the Persians of Aeschylus, which reached Leipsic by 
way of Egypt, and (not without our own humble co- 
operation) was recognized by Ritschl as a forgery, t 

Index of Works, Nos. LXII and LXTII. 
t F. Ritschl. Aeschylus Perser in Aegypten : ein neues Simon- 
ideum. [Aeschylus' Persians in Egypt: a new Simonideum.] 
Rhein. Museum, Bd. XXVII., page 114-126. F. Ritschl, Opuscula 
philol. Vol, V., p. 1194-210. 


During his life in Berlin as a Master Workman, 
Lepsius also addressed himself to those metrological 
studies which he continued to pursue up to the time of 
his death. If we look over the Transactions of the 
Berlin Academy of Sciences we shall also find that he 
was faithful to research in the department of languages. 
This was entirely apart from his special and unceasing 
labors on the Nubian Grammar and in the examination 
of the fundamental laws of construction of the other 
African languages. 

During his sojourn in Egypt amongst the monu- 
ments of the Pharaonic period, his attention had been 
specially called to the measures of the ancient Egyp- 
tians. He had subjected many of. the monuments to 
measurement, and also found certain stamps of linear 
measure, with accompanying figures, upon some of 
those of the Old Kingdom. These he studied accord- 
ing to the same method which had already approved 
itself to him throughout his previous labors. He col- 
lected all existing material from the monuments with a 
thoroughness and in an abundance thitherto unknown, 
and subjected all previous investigations and measure- 
ments to severe criticism. From the information thus 
gained he sagaciously and cautiously deduced positive 
inferences. In his investigations he also included the 
kindred measures of other ancient peoples. 

In his fine work on the ancient Egyptian ell and its 
subdivisions* he arrived at the conclusion that the 
small ell of 0.450 of a meter " was the true unit under- 
* Index of Works, No. LXXIX. 


lying the whole system." The great royal ell, which 
was in use at the same time, he considered a special 
ell, distinct from the common one and added to the 
measures at a very early date. The cause of the in- 
crease of the small ell used in private life appeared to 
him to have been " that the kings or priests paid the 
same compensation for the great ell, in building, as 
formerly for the small ell, as the overplus of labor was 
considered as compulsory service, and not paid for." 
In addition to ail the greater and lesser units of the 
Egyptian linear measure # he also directed his attention 
to other measures of the ancient Egyptians,! and after 
familiarizing himself with the results obtained in Assy- 
riology, (which at that time was making rapid progress), 
he occupied himself with comprehensive researches 
into the linear measures of the ancient nations in gene- 
ral. He took special pains to subject the celebrated 
tablet of Senkereh,J in which he discerned one of the 
most important bases of Asiatic metrology, to a search- 
ing examination, and in doing so he received the as- 
sistance of the most eminent Assyriologists. He re- 
stored the whole tablet, and recognized it as a table of 
comparison, by the aid of which Babylonian- Assyrian 
measures could be reduced to ells, which were rec- 
koned according to the sexagesimal system. He 
proved that the metrical systems of the Assyrians, 

* Index of Works, Nos. LXXXIV., CIL, CXXXVL, CXXXVIL, 

t Index of Works, Nos. LXXXV. 

t Index of Works, Nos. CXXIV., CXXVII., CXXIX., 


Babylonians and Persians were entirely distinct from 
each other, although he could grant them one point in 
common, the building ell of 0.525 of a meter, which 
was regularly in use in Egypt in the fourth century 
before Christ, and was employed in the building of the 

Although Lepsius had worked with sagacity and 
caution in the realm of metrology, yet his conclusions 
in that field were not to remain unchallenged, and he 
found himself forced to defend the results of his inves- 
tigations, first against the distinguished Assyriologist 
Jules Oppert, and then against the attacks of the archi- 
tect Dörpfeld. This young scholar, who had distin- 
guished himself by his very excellent work in his own 
special province, attempted to tax Lepsius with a fun- 
damental error, and to prove that the small ell which 
the latter considered, and was obliged to consider, as a 
special unit of measure, was in fact nothing of the sort, 
but should only be regarded as a subdivision of the 
great royal ell. But the grey-haired scholar, although 
he had been struck by apoplexy, still rejoiced in a 
keenness of mind which many a younger man might 
have envied, and defended himself bravely. He not 
only opposed his adversary in a controversial treatise 
scarcely a year before his death, but he also energeti- 
cally refuted Dörpfeld's reply in the last of his works, 
"The Linear Measures of the Ancients."* This ap- 
peared a few days before his decease. We have ex- 
amined both opinions impartially, and cannot but 

* Index of Works, No. CXXXVII. 


range ourselves on the side of the Master, Lepsius, 
who had the advantage of his opponent in a knowl- 
edge of all the monuments and an understanding of 
hieroglyphic writing. It was in his favor in the con- 
troversy that his adversary partly relied upon perverted 
translations and on dubious authorities, or those which 
he was obliged to take at second hand. The old war- 
rior knew how to bring such errors skilfully into the 
foreground, and thus, at the very beginning, compro- 
mise his adversary, who in other respects had worked 
with good faith in the correctness of his cause. The 
controversial paper of Lepsius has not the least appear- 
ance of being written by an old man suffering from ill- 
ness. He may have drawn the force of his reply from 
the conviction that he was in the right. Besides, the 
vigorous grey-beard saw all that he had won by pain- 
ful and conscientious labor unexpectedly endangered, 
and " therefore," thus he says himself in his last 
book — ; ' I both desired and was obliged to make 
a plain answer in a matter which but few under- 
stand. Otherwise the greatest confusion might be 
occasioned in the minds of half-instructed readers by 
the influence of such an extensive, bold, and yet en- 
tirely unfounded attack from a man otherwise estim- 
able, and who, in his own department, has decided 

Lepsius' last work, on the linear measures of the 
ancients, included all the results of his metrological 
studies. In it he took a high standpoint from which it 
was possible to survey all the multitude of details as. 


one great whole. He considered the linear measures 
of the Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Assyrians 
and Persians, and the Proletarian system. This latter 
he found to be employed in Egypt, especially in the 
temple of Denderah. But he was not contented with 
treating them monographically, but also investigated 
the relations of all these systems to each other, and 
showed that in all probability a historical connection 
existed between them. 

The treatises on language written by Lepsius were 
all published in the transactions and monthly reports 
of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and the greater 
number of them have been already cited. 

Up to the year 1866 he remained in Berlin, oc- 
cupied with ceaseless labors, and only in the autumn 
holidays did he undertake long journeys for recreation 
or in pursuit of his scientific aims. Several times he 
went to London, especially on account of affairs relat- 
ing to his standard alphabet. He was always at- 
tracted towards Paris, and once went there (1857) on a 
commission from the government to bid at an auction 
of Egyptian antiquities for the Berlin museum. He 
also reaped a fresh scientific harvest in the year 1852, 
during a second and longer visit to the museum at 
Leyden, where he was most cordially received by the 
Leemans and the mother of the excellent Director. 

In the beginning of 1866, he undertook his second 
journey to Egypt, and was again accompanied by his 
faithful hierogrammatist, E. Weidenbach. On the 
second of April he left for Cairo, and this time with 


the design of visiting the Eastern Delta and the locali- 
ties of the ruins there. These were of special import- 
ance for Biblical geography. He first inspected the 
Persian-Egyptian monuments which had just been ex- 
cavated by the workmen on the Suez Canal. Accord- 
ing to his views these had been dug up from the canal 
constructed by Darius, and were memorials intended 
to adorn that great undertaking. After also examin- 
ing the other monuments found in the neighborhood 
of the excavations of De Lesseps, together with their 
surroundings, he proceeded in quest of the site of an- 
cient Pelusium.* The shingle bed which covers the 
whole Gesiret-el-Farama is bounded towards the east 
by a continuous bank, which can be traced till beyond 
the western Tell-el-Her, and whose fortress-like curves 
separate the shingle field upon its declivity from the 
sand dunes of the desert. Lepsius believed that he 
had found there the locality of the ancient H auaris 
(auaris), so often sought for, and thus proved that this 
was not to be looked for in Tanis, but on the site or in 
the neighborhood of the later Pelusium. In the Her- 
in Tell-el-Her he thought might perhaps be recognized 
a remnant of the old name Ha-uar, the ancient Egyp- 
tian form of Auaris. These conjectures have not been 
shaken by any later investigations, but on the other 
hand Lepsius' opinion, previously expressed, that Tell 
el- Maschuta, which he visited before Pelusium, was the 
Ramses of the Bible, seems to be disproved by the 
latest excavations of Naville, and this place must now 

* Index of Works, No. LXXXVIII. 


be regarded as the Biblical Pithom and Succoth, in 
spite of the opposition which that view afterwards en- 
countered from the Master.* 

His greatest prize was to fall into his hands at San, 
the Tanis of the Greeks, the Zo'an of the Bible, 
whither he was accompanied by the Viennese Egyp- 
tologist Reinisch. This acquisition was of such great 
and epoch-making importance as to throw into the 
shade all the other gains of the journey. The dis- 
covery of the decree of Tanis, or the Tablet of Can- 
opus, amongst the ruins of San, is one of the most im- 
portant discoveries made in Egypt since the finding of 
the Rosetta stone. It furnishes proof of the correctness 
of the results which had been obtained up to 1866, by 
the Egyptologists with the aid of the Rosetta key and 
Champollion's method of deciphering hieroglyphics. 

This rare monument consists of a stela of solid 
limestone, and has on its front surface a hieroglyphic 
inscription of thirty-seven lines, and the Greek transla- 
tion of the same in seventy-six closely written lines. 
On the edge of the tablet, though Lepsius did not 
notice it at first, is the same text in demotic writing, 
that is, in the popular dialect of the later heathen Egyp- 
tians. The whole stone, including the rounded upper 
surface, is 2.16 meters high and 0.78 of a meter wide, 
and is at present kept in the museum of Bulak. It is in 
excellent preservation, and Lepsius could easily read 
both texts at the first trial. 

The translation of the hieroglyphic decree, which 

* Index of Works, No. CXXXVIII. 


was made on the basis of Champollion's method of 
deciphering and by the aid of the grammars and lexi- 
cons published between the time when that was dis- 
covered and the year 1866, agreed perfectly with the 
Greek version thereof upon the same stone. With this 
valuable monument for a basis it was thus once for all 
positively determined that the study of the Egyptian 
language was being pursued according to the correct 

The decree discovered by Lepsius was dated in the 
ninth year of Ptolemy Euergetes I. Like the decree 
upon the Rosetta stone it had been passed by priests, 
who had assembled at Canopus for the celebration of 
the birthday of the king. In the first part of it were 
enumerated the benefits conferred by the ruler of the 
land, which had caused the hierarchy to accord to him 
many new honors in addition to those conferred upon 
his predecessor. In the part establishing a new popular 
festival to be celebrated in honor of Euergetes in all 
the temples of the country, there occurred certain ar- 
rangements of the calendar from which, as Lepsius 
immediately perceived, it must be inferred that a 
mutable year had been in use at an early period, in 
addition to the fixed year. It was also evident that in 
the ninth year of Euergetes I. the fixed Julian year 
had already come into use in the civil affairs of Egypt. 

The hieroglyphic names for Canopus, Syria, Phoe- 
nicia, the island of Cyprus and Persia, could be deter- 
mined with the aid of the Greek translation. This 
weighty document also furnished much important in- 


formation regarding history, chronology and the calen- 
dar. Egyptian philology is indebted to these inscrip- 
tions for confirmation only, if we except a few additions 
to the dictionary, and some peculiarities of the dialect 
of Lower Egypt in which they were written. 

Lepsius immediately made the monument which 
he had discovered the common property of science, in 
a model publication * containing both texts, which he 
accompanied by thorough translations and most impor- 
tant explanations.' In so doing he gave an example 
worthy of imitation to Mariette, the great autocrat of 
all the monuments in Egypt, who always published the 
inscriptions which he excavated long after their dis- 

Invested with a new and illustrious honorary title, t 
Lepsius returned to Berlin, and there resumed his old 
labors with all his energy. 

Henry Brugsch, a scholar who, quite independently 
of Lepsius, had become one of the most eminent 
leaders in the science of Egyptology, had in 1863 
founded an organ of his own for Egyptological re- 
search, under the name of " Zeitschrift für ägyptische 
Sprache und Alterthumskunde " [Journal of Egyptian 
Language and Archaeology.] A profound estrange- 
ment, increased by adverse casualties and incidents, 
liad up to this time kept these two eminent men 
asunder. But Brugsch, after successfully conducting 

* Index of Works, No. LXXXVII. 

t Dr. Reinisch claimed to have taken part in the discovery of the 
exceedingly important decree in question, but unjustly. We refer to 
the explanation given by Lepsius. Index of Works, XC. 


the new j ournal to the end of its first year, obtained a 
place in Egypt in the Prussian consular service, and 
left Europe. The relations between him and Lepsius 
at this time became more friendly, and Lepsius under- 
took, " with the cooperation of H. Brugsch at Cairo," 
the management of this journal of Egyptology. 
Scholars from all countries furnished contributions to 
it, and for some time it remained the chief organ for 
the special investigations of Egyptologists. It also re- 
ceived Assyriological works. It had afterwards as 
competitors, first in France the Vieweg " Recueil " * 
and then the " Revue Egyptilogique " t founded in 
1880, by Revillont and Brugsch, and in England the 
" Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archae- 
ology." I Yet, in spite of the rivals mentioned, the 
German journal maintained its rank and its import- 
ance. This was the case even after Lepsius, over- 
whelmed by his official duties and with enfeebled 
health, resigned the lion's share of the editorial work to 
the distinguished young Egyptologist, A. Erman. Erman L^%^e^l 
taught as a private lecturer at the Berlin University in 
the time of Lepsius, and has lately been appointed 
professor there. 

H. Brugsch-Pasha still worked for the " Zeitschrift," 
even after he had founded the " Revue Egyptologique " 

* Recueil de travaux relatifs ä la philologie et ä l'archeologie 
egyptiennes and assyriennes. Paris, Vieweg. 

t Revue egyptologique publiee sous la direction de H. Brugsch, 
F. Chabas, E. Revillout. Paris, Leroux. 

X Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology. London. 


in conjunction with Revillout, and his relation to his 
older colleague became more friendly with time. 
After the death of Lepsius, Brugsch again became 
editor of the "Zeitschrift" and dedicated to the senior 
master an obituary which was couched in the warmest 

In the autumn of the year 1869, Lepsius undertook 
bis third and last journey to Egypt, and was present at 
the opening of the Suez Canal. His hasty trip to 
Upper Egypt could yield little fruit to science, but it 
served to give him great pleasure, and in his letters to 
his wife he could not sufficiently praise the amiability 
of the Crown Prince, to whom, as cicerone, he showed 
the monuments. 

A great number of distinctions were conferred 
upon the Master during the latter portion of his life, 
but in consequence thereof, at a time of life when 
others feel the desire for rest, he was induced to as- 
sume a burden of duties which would have oppressed 
many a man in his prime. 

In 1873, he was appointed privy counsellor to the 
government, and was entrusted with the temporary di- 
rection of the Berlin library. We were witness to the 
extreme and careful deliberation with which he con 
sidered the matter before assuming this onerous office. 
He did not conceal from himself that it would hmder 
the completion of many an enterprise which ne had al- 
ready begun and which was very dear to him ; but on 
the other hand he told himself that he was the right 
man to regulate and carry through numerous affairs 


which he knew would be of benefit to the important 
institution which he was to conduct. 

The broad and firm foundation of his education, 
his prolonged work as a student at Paris, Rome and 
London, and his practical intelligence, specially fitted 
him for the place of a chief librarian. He entered 
upon the post on the twenty-fifth of March, 1874. 

Pertz had formerly been a very useful man, but 
had now become enfeebled by age, and was difficult to 
manage. We learn from the most authoritative of all 
sources that Lepsius, at the instance of Delbrück, then 
vice-chancellor, undertook to induce Pertz first to re- 
sign the management of the collection of the archives 
of the German people, (the Monumenta Germaniae), 
and afterwards to retire from his office of chief librarian. 
After Lepsius had succeeded in this — the wits of Ber- 
lin called him Propertz, as the successor of the aged 
Pertz, — the Minister, Falk, invited him in April, 1873 
to assume the management of the Royal Library. 
The place was at first provisional, but when he defin- 
itively assumed the office in March, 1874, he did it 
under the condition that the Budget for the library 
should be considerably increased, and that provision 
should be made for erecting a new building. Of this 
there was and is urgent need, for the limited amount 
of space in the old •' roccoco-cabinet of Frederick IL," 
produced, and still produces, incredible disadvantages. 
After inspecting many large foreign libraries during the 
long vacation of 1873, and taking into consideration 
everything which he found there suitable for the end 


in view, Lepsius looked over the plans of the grounds 
available for this purpose. As the result of his reflec- 
tions a bold idea saw the light of day. The place 
which he chosed for the future library of the capital city 
was the great square enclosed by Unter den Linden, 
Charlotten, Dorotheen and Universitäts streets. This 
was a bold but extraordinarily happy project, which 
might perhaps have been adopted, had it been earlier 
laid before the Government and the chambers. But 
the golden days of flood in the Prussian treasury were 
passing away. Lepsius succeeded in arranging that 
the rear portion of the Dutch palace, towards Behren 
Street, should be specially appropriated as journal 
rooms, whereby space was procured for from one to 
two hundred thousand volumes more. But he did not 
live to see the realization of his project. Nevertheless, 
the impulse given by him is still working, and the day 
cannot be far distant when a worthy domicile will be 
provided for the treasures of the Berlin library. 

Lepsius did much for the internal regulation of the 
library. He spoke with special pleasure of the system 
introduced by him for the disposal of newly-procured 
books as well as of the cataloguing, and the following 
innovations : Here, as elsewhere, the titles of the 
books desired by different individuals were written 
upon cards and handed in. If it was impossible to 
satisfy the demand thus expressed, the card was simply 
returned, and such returns were far more frequent in 
the Berlin library than in any other. Lepsius there- 
fore directed that thenceforth the cards containing such 


demands as could not be complied with should be 
kept, and he made it the duty of the higher officials of 
the library to find out whether the refusal was owing 
to any negligence of the subordinate employees. The 
cards requiring books which could not be furnished 
were preserved, and it was soon evident that certain 
books were repeatedly called for. These were natur- 
ally such as were particularly important for students, 
and Lepsius caused several copies of them to be im- 
mediately procured. He also invited the most experi- 
enced professors to supply him with the names of those 
works which were of special weight in their own de- 
partments, but too costly to be procured by individuals 
of narrow means. He proceeded upon the correct prin- 
ciple that precisely those books which students could 
not buy for themselves should be at their disposal 
in the library. According to his own reckoning, up to 
that time a third of the books demanded had not been 
delivered, while a year after he took the management 
only one-twelfth were not delivered. The scant cour- 
tesy, indeed the incivility, of the Berlin library under 
Pertz, had been really notorious, and presented a glar- 
ing contrast to the obliging spirit encountered in the 
other large German libraries, especially those of Göt- 
tingen, Munich and Leipsic. This bad reputation was 
in some measure improved under the administration of 

The multitude of duties which devolved upon the 
chief librarian did not hinder him from continuing to 
hold the office of president of the board of directors of 


the Archaeological Institute. This, although it con- 
ferred honor, yet consumed much time. Lepsius had 
held the post since Gerhard's death in 1867, and when 
he became manager of the library the directors were no 
less men than Haupt, Curtius, Mommsen, Kirchhof!. 
and afterwards Hercher. Under his presidency the 
Institute had been enlarged from a Prussian institu- 
tion to a scientific institution of the whole Ger- 
man empire. The construction of a stately building 
at the capital had been authorized and completed. 
It was also largely owing to Lepsius that the schol- 
arships for young archaeologists were increased in 
number and amount. The application for them 
constantly became more numerous, and among the 
archaeologists were many philologists, who wished 
to participate in the benefits of the Institute. The 
archaeologists generally received the preference, but 
Lepsius specially and rightly interested himself for the 
young private professors of the university and the 
teachers at the gymnasiums. He desired that they 
might acquire more elevated views of art, and a more 
enlightened conception of science and of life, by a so- 
journ on the classical soil of Italy, where the whole 
spiritual existence of a well-prepared and susceptible 
youth is so easily broadened and ennobled. Entirely 
apart from whatever scientific gains he may have won, 
the memory of Italy must illumine the teacher's life, 
Iris academical discourses, and even his dryest teach- 
ing, and lend to all a higher inspiration. Lepsius was 
also enthusiastically interested in the founding of a 


subordinate branch of the Roman Institute at Athens, 
and exerted all the influence in his power in favor of it. 
Ernest Curtius, " whose intellectual Fatherland is 
Greece," showed himself most active in carrying out 
this project. The correspondence which Lepsius had 
to conduct, as president of the board of directors in 
Berlin, had so increased that in 1874 he was obliged to 
write about eighty letters in a quarter of a year. Since 
1833 he had belonged to the Institute as a correspond- 
ing member, since 1835 as a regular member, since 
1836, first as a director, and finally as presiding mem- 
ber of the central board. When he retired in 1880 the 
Institute awarded him the well-deserved honor by elect- 
ing him an honorary member. 

He had been made a Doctor of the Theological 
Faculty in Leipsic in 1859. 

Since 1850 he had been a member of the Berlin 
Academy of Sciences, and since 1858 a corresponding 
member of the Institut de France. He had besides 
been elected member of almost half a hundred learned 
societies. After the death of Trendelenburg, when the 
office of secretary of the Berlin Academy of Sciences 
was vacant, he was asked if he would be inclined to 
assume it, and only after his decided refusal, and at 
his suggestion, was E. Curtius chosen. In 1872 he re- 
ceived the most honorable of all German decorations, 
the order pour le merite for science and the arts. He 
had already, in 1869, been appointed a knight of the 
Bavarian order of Maximilian, which was closely re- 
lated to the foregoing. In 1883 he was appointed 


Government Upper Privy Councellor. The unusual 
and numerous ovations which he received during the 
same year upon the occasion of his Doctor's Jubilee of 
fifty years, were such as have fallen to the lot of but 
few scholars. 

His later works on Egyptian art and the oldest texts 
of the " Book of the Dead " have been already men- 
tioned. Connected with these were a series of valuable 
monographs * published in the Transactions and 
Monthly Reports of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, 
and in the "Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und 
Alterthumskunde." In his seventieth year, after an 
apoplectic attack which slightly crippled his arm, he 
presented his long-expected Nubian Grammar ** to 

This work, which marked an epoch, comprised the 
results of many years of study. Throughout his whole 
life as a master workman he had been engaged in ar- 
ranging the philological material which he had ac- 
quired while in Ethiopia and on the Blue Nile. He 
had illuminated this mass of knowledge by profound 
study, and so greatly added to it that, as far as the 
works then in existence permitted, he had gained a 
mastery over all branches of language upon the African 

The introduction to this book, consisting of a hun- 
dred and twenty-six pages, is in itself a colossal achieve- 

* His work on "The Metals in Egyptian Inscriptions," men- 
tioned on page 131, is of special importance, Index of Works, No, 

** Index of Works, No. CXXX. 


ment. We devoted a special treatise * to it soon 
after its appearance. By means of it the reader is as it 
were raised upon a hovering cloud, whence he can 
survey all Africa, and pass in review a portion of the 
early history of its peoples. He is able, under the 
guidance of the most skillful of commentators, to ob- 
tain thence a general view of all the African nations 
and their languages. These are presented to him 
classified into zones and groups, and in fact, in all 
those stages of their historical existence which are ac- 
cessible to investigation. This is particularly the case 
with regard to those peoples with whom the book is es- 
pecially concerned. The author had recognized in the 
Nubians a branch of the original African population, 
who never possessed a historical literature in their own 
language, and it was no slight matter, from the records 
of the Egyptians and the occasional reports of the 
Greeks, Romans and Arabians, to construct the gen- 
eral outlines of a history which begins at such an early 
period as the building of the pyramids, and ends with 
the destruction of the great Christian Nubian kingdom 
at the end of the thirteenth century after Christ. 

Lepsius was also induced to construct a history of 
the Kushite peoples from the records on the monu- 
ments of the struggles which the more feeble Nubians 
had to sustain against that race. At an early date the 
Kushites were in possession of both shores of the Red 
Sea, and had also made themselves masters of the 

* Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellsch. [Journal of the 
German Oriental Society.] Leipzig, 1881, Bd. XXXV., p. 207-218. 


eastern bend of the Nile adjacent thereto. Lepsius 
was also inspired by the desire to approach more 
nearly to a solution of the problem whether the so- 
called Ethiopian stone inscriptions, which were yet un- 
deciphered and many of which are to be found between 
Philae and the confluence of the two sources of the 
Nile, were written in the African tongue of the Nu- 
bians, or in the Kushite language. Of this latter the 
present Bega language, which is comparatively little 
known must be considered the successor. This por- 
tion of his work is one of the author's boldest intellec- 
tual feats. The chapters which he devotes to the 
Kushite Puna, as the predecessors of the Phoenician 
colonists on the Mediterranean, and to their emi- 
gration to Babylon, have roused much opposition, and 
have encountered serious doubt even in ourselves. 
But other portions of this same historical statement 
are of great value, and must give repeated impulse to 
fresh investigation. 

The final result of all these researches is that the 
key to the " Ethiopian " inscriptions so frequently men- 
tioned is to be sought, not in the Nubian but in the 
Bega language, and the future, we think, will prove the 
correctness of this supposition. Had Lepsius, during 
his long journey, been in a position to arrive at those 
conclusions whence he afterwards inferred the high 
historic and linguistic importance of the Bega language, 
he would have given it the first place in his philological 
researches. He would have devoted to it the thor- 
ough study which, as a matter of fact, he gave to the 


Nubian tongue. The fundamental and comprehensive 
manner in which he prosecuted this latter study is 
proved by the second part of the work mentioned 
above, which comprises the Nubian grammar and its. 
rules of pronunciation, etymology and syntax, as well as 
reading exercises. These include the whole Gospel of 
St. Mark, the " Our Father," and a series of Nubian 
songs, besides the lexicon and scheme of the Nubian 
dialects. Good old Achmet Abu Nabbut, a native of 
Derr, who was perfect master of two Nubian dialects, 
(the Kennez and Mahas), and first introduced Lepsius 
to the Nubian tongue, has been for months in my own 
service, and assures me that Lepsius was the only 
European who knew how to write the language of his 
native land. After Lepsius returned to Germany the 
Nubian 'Ali wed Schaltuf, whom Count W. von 
Schließen had brought from Africa with him, also did 
him good service. The Nubian Grammar is certainly 
a useful work in itself, but the magnificent introduction 
which precedes it is of yet greater weight and higher 
significance. It may be described as the beautiful and 
enduring result of many years of faithful industry and 
difficult preparatory labor,* upon a wide domain of re- 
search which had been almost untrodden before. 

Max Müller, a faithful friend of the departed, and 
of his family, has made the following appropriate re- 
marks on this introduction : " While most comparative 
philologists are at present absorbed in details regarding 
the character of the possible dialectal diversities of in- 

* Index of Works, Xos. XXXV., CVIIIa., CXXIXa. 


dividual vowels and consonants, Professor Lepsius 
draws with bold strokes the mighty outlines of a history 
of language which covers four or five thousand years, 
and embraces the whole continent of Africa and the 
neighboring coasts of Asia. As the admirers of Gerard 
Douw shake their heads before the immense surfaces 
which Paul Veronese has covered with color, so we can 
readily understand that scholars who are absorbed in 
the question whether the Arian language had originally 
four or five distinct " A's," turn with a sort of terror 
from investigations like those of Lepsius, where lan- 
guages are traced back to a common origin. Happily 
there is room for both in science, for the Gerard Douws 
and the Veroneses ; indeed it is to be sincerely desired 
in the interests of science that the two styles may ever 
exist side by side. There is still much rough work to 
be done among the hitherto unstudied languages of the 
world, and for this work the bold, far-seeing eye of the 
huntsman is far more necessary than the concentrated 
labor of the philological microscopist." 

For the rest, the Grammar contains much which 
shows with how fine an ear and sense of detail its 
author was endowed. He has also proved himself to 
be a microscopist in his chronological and metrological 
investigations. To these, as we know, he remained 
faithful to the end. The effects of his apoplectic at- 
tack could not break down his vigorous nature, and 
his last papers in the "Zeitschrift für ägyptische 
Sprache and Altertbumskunde," his controversial trea- 
tise against Herr Dörpfeld, his " Linear Measures of 


the Ancients," best prove that the vigor and acuteness 
of his mind were entirely untouched by this ominous 
misfortune, and by the heavy blows of destiny which 
he encountered during the last years of his life. 

Lepsius' career as a Master Workman ended with 
his life. He was a diligent and faithful laborer up to 
the boundaries of this earthly existence. He, the Senior 
Master of a most ambitious branch of study, has laid 
down his office of pioneer and leader. Egyptology, to 
which he consecrated the best part of his great powers, 
will deserve the name of a science so long as she fol- 
lows the way which the departed pointed out to her. 
In him the Berlin university lost one of its ornaments, 
and the Fatherland an investigator who, far beyond its 
borders, was accounted one of the most eminent of his 




Since Lepsius' fortunate entrance into the haven of 
matrimony we have devoted our whole attention to es- 
timating his scientific achievements as a master work- 
man, leaving unmentioned his personal experiences, 
except so far as they fell within the sphere of his schol- 


arly labors. We thought it better to depict his domes- 
tic life, and the man Lepsius, in the circle of his family 
and friends, quite apart from his scientific occupations. 
These latter were carried on in the sanctuary of his 
study, in the lecture room, or in the public library. 
No one ever understood more thoroughly than he how 
to disengage his mind from his special pursuits, and to 
enjoy intercourse with wife or child, with individuals or 
general society. None better knew how to participate 
with both intellect and heart in animated conversations 
on art or literature, science or politics. His special ac- 
quirements remained hidden until a desire was ex- 
pressed for information on such subjects, and he was 
appealed to. 

The Lepsius who returned from the Orient and 
founded a home of his own, was essentially different 
from the young scholar who had been reckoned among 
the conservatives in Göttingen, and whom we saw in- 
dignantly quit Schleiermacher's lectures on the Life of 
Jesus, in Berlin. During a long sojourn in England, 
which had brought him into connection with the 
leaders of political life, he had learned to appreciate 
the rights of the people, and the advantages of a free 
state under a constitutional government. He had 
spent three years in the East under unusual conditions, 
always in a position of authority and subject to none. 
What can so quickly expand even the most limited 
views, what can more certainly conduce to an unfet- 
tered and vigorous use of existence, what can more 
strengthen even the feeblest self-confidence, what can 


lead with more imperious necessity to self-examination 
and to knowledge of one's own faults and merits, than 
a prolonged sojourn in the East, and in the silent 
desert ? 

He had returned home entirely self-reliant, under- 
standing himself and his aims, and capable of maintain- 
ing his own stand in the face of opposition. He had 
become a free-thinker of dispassionate and temperate 
views, who had learned to despise the barriers which 
prejudices and one-sided opinions of every kind ma- 
levolently set between men. He no longer held to the 
dogmas and formulas of a circumscribed confession, 
but he still adhered to that Christ to whom his free- 
thinking ' father had taught him to look up as the har- 
"binger of pure self-sacrificing human love. 

And the choice of this man had fallen upon a 
maiden of eighteen years. All who knew her as a 
bride speak of her as a charming, happy creature, full 
of childlike archness. But nevertheless passionate 
blood ran through the veins of this young girl; Eliza- 
beth's finely cultivated mind was restless and over- 
active, and her soul was completely filled with ardent 
and fanatical religious zeal. 

What contrasts ! Seldom has there been a pair in 
every respects so different ; and yet they confirmed 
Schiller's lines : " For where the severe with the tender, 
where the strong and the gentle unite." Love was the 
metal of that bell whose voice had drawn them to- 
gether, and bound them to each other for a life time. 
It gave forth a pleasant sound, and only one discord, 


which became especially perceptible in their latter 
years, and which was produced by the great difference 
in their religious convictions. This disturbed his ear 
but slightly, for, calm and assured of his own aims, 
happy in his work and in his life, he devoted his time 
to labor and science, and his intervals of recreation to 
his children, to social pleasures, to the learned societies 
of which he was a member, to his garden, to music, 
whose pleasures he gladly shared with his wife, and to 
his beloved chess. At first she had attempted to re- 
alize the dream of her girlhood, and to kindle his 
heart with the fire of her own enthusiasm ; but in vain. 
Tranquilly and cheerfully he accompanied her to 
church, and whenever his occupations permitted it, 
usually on Sunday, he took part in the daily household 
worship which she had instituted. He allowed her to 
train the children, and to instil into them that religious 
feeling in which he himself was not wanting, and in 
which he recognized the loveliest flower of the soul, 
and of the feminine soul especially. But he warned 
her against excess and exaggeration, which were so 
alien to his own nature, and possibly this unsympa- 
thetic attitude towards what to her was highest and 
holiest, only contributed to cause in her ardent heart 
still warmer devotion to the doctrines of her positive 
Protestant faith. We should here assert, in the most 
decided manner, that this devotion was of the most un- 
obtrusive kind. Frau Lepsius never gave it public 
manifestation, and the only ones whom she allowed to 
share in it were her nearest relatives, her pastor, and 


her diary. She was ever averse to the course of the 
zealots and pietists, who enjoyed such palmy days 
under Frederick IV., and once, on hearing a sermon 
by the famous pastor Knak, she left the church in in- 
dignation. The noble Jonas and the excellent Kögel 
were her pastors, and certainly had more frequently to 
moderate than to kindle her zeal. Her husband saw 
no reason for serious interference with the excessive 
religious aspirations of her soul, for to him she gave 
everything that a man can ask from the companion of 
his existence : a heart overflowing with love, esteem 
heightened to admiration, and a warm interest in all 
his labors and productions, even the most abstruse. 
In addition to this she cared with prudence, skill and 
indefatigable industry for the management and embel- 
lishment of the home, and there were few houses where 
the hostess was able to make her guests so thoroughly 
at ease. Nothing was farther from her thoughts than 
a puritanical renunciation of the pleasures and delights 
of this world, and she gave a zest to the household 
festivals by the inexhaustible fertility of her ideas in 
the way of original representations and spectacles. 
She pleased in society by her amiability and wit; 
she was the best of mothers; and as the children 
grew up she was so excellent and untiring a teacher 
that he, who had never had any confidence in his 
own ability as a pedagogue, was glad and thankful 
to resign to her the charge of the mental and moral 
education of the children. Among them were boys 
who were hard to govern, yet they all turned out 


excellently. In matters of charity he gave her entire 

The inner being of this rare woman lies plain before 
us, and we are permitted to follow the life of the Lep- 
sius family almost from day to day. We ourselves 
visited the house of Lepsius only as a friend and 
guest, but the diary of its mistress, some twenty vol- 
umes, makes us a member of the household. It is 
honest, simple, and yet written with great intuitive per- 
ception. A number of poems are intermingled with 
the excellent prose. They are mostly of religious 
tenor, and many of them are distinguished by their 
lofty strain and beautiful thoughts. The perusal of 
this journal has therefore afforded us genuine pleasure, 
and it has exhibited to our soul as well as to our sight, 
the character of a woman so singular and noble in her 
love, her activity and her aspiration that we separate 
from it with sincere admiration, but also with deep 
regret. It would be to abuse a great trust, were we to 
yield to the desire to portray the character of its 
author from the avowals contained in this journal, 
and yet this would excite quite different, and tenfold 
greater, interest than that of her husband. For how 
much less alluring to the psychologist is the calm pro- 
gress of a man who came early to maturity, his suc- 
cessful contests with the impulses of youth, and his 
tranquil labors after the goal was attained, than the 
ceaseless struggles of a woman distinguished above 
thousands by the ardor of her soul and the keenness 
of her intellect. Yet we may be at least allowed to 


extract from the diary all that can serve to give the 
reader a clear idea of life in the home of Lepsius, its 
intercourse with the outside world, and the experiences 
of its head as a husband, and as a member of a select 

Every betrothal has its history. Lilli (Elizabeth) 
Klein,* who was greatly admired, had done some 
friends the favor to appear at an entertainment as the 
fourteenth guest. The ominous number thirteen was 
caused by Lepsius' declining the invitation at a late 
moment. But, nevertheless, he appeared, after all the 
guests were assembled, and it was on this occasion that 
she made his acquaintance. " Oh Superstition " she 
wrote in her diary, " for the first time I bless thee." 

Even this first meeting had carried the day with 

* Frau Lepsius was the daughter of the celebrated composer, 
Klein, and many a friend of music will be glad to hear all that her 
aunts in Cologne related to Frau Elizabeth, regarding the early his- 
tory of her father, when she visited them at Berlin in 1856. He was 
the son of a musician who died suddenly, and left his wife and chil- 
dren, the youngest only seven months old. without means. At that 
time Bernard Klein was twenty-one years old, and immediately an- 
nounced that he should support his mother and brothers and sisters 
by giving music lessons. He did this faithfully and with serene con- 
fidence in better days to come. The mother always had to care for 
his clothes, for he paid no attention to his external appearance. He 
once visited a friend who complained that he had no coat. He gave 
him his own in entire faith that he had two, but when he got home he 
found that he had made a mistake, and must buy himself a new one. 
As a child he had wished to become a merchant, and not to learn 
music, but he was suddenly seized by a passion for music, and said 
to his mother : " Now if I had become a merchant, and were so rich 
that I could drive four horses, I would rather be a music teacher." 
Not long after his father's death he went to Paris with Begas for two 
years, and there studied music under Cherubini. In 1818 he went to 
Berlin. Ten years after, as a famous composer, he returned to Ber- 
lin, to be present at a great musical festival, at which his " Jephta" 
was performed with great applause. 


her. The next Sunday she could not help thinking of 
him during the sermon, and when she visited him with 
several of her relations, amongst whom there were 
some young ladies, to inspect the curiosities which he 
had brought with him from the Orient, her young 
heart was not only disturbed, but deeply troubled, be- 
cause he seemed to have paid more attention to her 
sister than to her, and she already loved him. 

The following day put an end to her anxiety. It 
was a Palm Sunday, and that evening he wrote in his 
term-calendar " To-day the palm of life is won," while, 
at a later hour, she confided to her diary the rejoicings 
of her heart. She prefaced the sentences with which 
she gave expression to her rapture by Chamisso-Schu- 
bert's " I cannot understand it, I cannot believe it." 

She continues : " God, my God, how shall I thank 
thee for this unutterable bliss ! No, it is too great and 
too much, my Heavenly Father. ' Beloved !' Beloved 
by him ! My heart is full, but I cannot write ! My 
soul rejoices in the thought ; Beloved by him ! But 
how can I prove myself worthy of him ?" 

The letters which he wrote to Elizabeth also lie 
before us, and it is not without deep emotion that we 
read these beautiful effusions of tender passion from 
the profoundly touched heart of a man to whom we 
had been accustomed to look up as an earnest teacher, 
and the dignified senior master of our science. Here 
we see him succumb with lovable weakness to a beau- 
tiful human emotion. 

The passion for his " Lilli " compensates him for 


the magic of the East, which he had felt so deeply a 
short time before, and he calls her his " Shulamite " 
and his " Rose of Sharon." Yet even in the bonds of 
love he preserves the fundamental instincts of his soul, 
and he writes to her : " Often and earnestly do I ask 
myself, my dear Lilli, whether it is not after all ignoble 
selfishness, when 1 feel such intense bliss in your de- 
voted love, and in the consciousness that I have won 
you, so ardently beloved a spirit, for my own. But 
then again I feel that through your love all that is 
good in me is helped and strengthened, and I become 
capable of a higher and purer love towards God and 
our fellow beings, and then it seems as if it could not 
be wrong to desire such a relation with all the strength 
of one's soul • as if this happiness were our vocation, 
seldom however to be attained untroubled, and never 
entirely unalloyed, upon this earth. Oh, my Lilli, 
what a rare and rich life would lie before us if the 
thoughts which we have exchanged in our letters 
should one day become an actual living reality, not 
only in word but in deed." 

The pure exultation of a maiden's heart, overpow- 
ered by true love, re-echoes from her diary throughout 
the whole time of the betrothal. It is true that there 
were many differences of opinion between the be- 
trothed, especially when religious questions were dis- 
cussed, but his cheerful serenity was always able to 
make amends for whatever might have wounded her 
feelings in such disputes, and, taken as a whole, their 
betrothal was one long happy festival. He taught her 


the hieroglyphic alphabet, and wrote out for her little 
protestations of love in the picture writing of the old 
Egyptians. The learned man of five and thirty was 
unwearied in the invention of tender speeches, and it 
must have pleased Elizabeth- Lilli to have heard her- 
self called, both in his letters and from his lips, by 
eighteen pet names, — she counted them herself. 
There was no lack on his side of verses, flowers, and 
acts of homage. In the house of the Partheys, who 
had adopted the orphan niece as a daughter, entertain- 
ment followed upon entertainment, gay excursions to 
the country were arranged, and masquerades, at which 
Elizabeth was obliged to appear in Turkish dress. 
But this gay life was contrary to her inclinations and 
to his likewise. The wedding was celebrated on the 
fifth of July, 1846, not in the old Nicolai house in 
Behren Street, where they had first known each other, 
but at Dresden. The excellent pastor Jonas, from 
Berlin, performed the marriage ceremony in the Church 
of Our Lady, and after a brilliant wedding banquet the 
young couple went to Pima, the first stopping-place in 
a longer wedding trip which took them, by way of 
Paris, to England. There they were cordially received 
by the Bunsens, and the young wife found the eminent 
statesman and patron of her husband so kind and 
friendly that her fear of appearing embarrassed before 
him proved entirely unfounded. * She described 
vividly everything noteworthy that occurred to her, 

* Frau von Bunsen, as I see by Hare's biography, was at thar 
time in Wildbad and Baden. 


and depicted with a bold and ready pen the impression 
made on her by men and things. She saw her Richard 
received everywhere with the same respect and cordi- 
ality; the light of his fame enveloped and delighted her, 
but on their journey home a charming attention fell to 
her lot also, for at Cologne her father's great mass, 
which she never yet heard, was performed in the most 
admirable manner as a mark of respect to her. 

On the seventeenth of September they returned to 
Berlin, and " Richard " writes Elizabeth, " was forced 
to laugh at the childish delight which I showed in the 
beautiful big house, our own house, (in Behren Street) 
where I am to be mistress." 

They were soon installed, and the young couple, 
who were freed from all material anxiety by the com- 
fortable property of the wife and the salary of the hus- 
band, could now return the hospitality which had been 
offered them on all sides. In spite of her strict piety 
the wife showed herself as much inclined as was her 
husband to social intercourse with agreeable guests. 
A few weeks after their return the young couple enter- 
tained a number of friends, and who these were we see 
from the memoranda before us. On the third of No- 
vember, 1846, there met at their house Gerhard, v. 
Olfers, Homeyer, Max Müller, the Grimm brothers, 
Parthey, Carl Ritter, Ehrenberg, Lachmann, L. Ranke 
and E. Curtius. On the fifteenth of December there 
were assembled there A. v. Humboldt (who also visited 
them on other occasions, and for whom, Frau Eliza- 
beth writes, she felt a genuine affection) v. Olfers, 


Boeckh, Pertz, Cornelius, v. Reumont, the Grimm 
brothers, Homeyers, Strack, the Partheys, Schelling 
and Bethmann. 

Such a company of illustrious men could at that 
time be brought together nowhere but in Berlin, and if 
we consult the diary of Frau Lepsius and Lepsius' later 
note-books, and appeal to our own memory, we shall 
find that the assemblage of noted colleagues and coun- 
trymen was constantly increased by a number of emi- 
nent strangers. Amongst them were scholars, travelers, 
statesmen, artists, and even the ambassadors of foreign 
powers, who were unwilling to leave Berlin without 
having visited the house of Lepsius. The most faith- 
ful friend of the family, beside the Partheys and Pin- 
ders, was the valued traveling companion of the young 
husband, Abeken, who had renounced his career as a 
divine, and was constantly rising to higher and higher 
positions in the Foreign Office. 

How kindly Frederick William IV. was disposed to 
Lepsius may be inferred from the fact that soon after 
the return of the latter from his wedding trip the King 
sent him fifteen hundred thalers towards the establish- 
ment of the new household. Frau Elizabeth writes : 
" It is altogether a peculiar feeling ; to have in hand 
such a large sum that seems as if it had fallen from 
heaven. I was quite troubled about our great good 
fortune in material things, and I reminded Richard of 
the ring of Polycrates. But as I read the day after in 
a letter from C. P. to Richard : ' Whoever has behind 
him such a fruitful and undesecrated youth as you 


have, has a right to make claims upon life, which will 
not fail to reward you abundantly.' Nevertheless one 
is astonished, and such a distribution of fortune seems 
almost unjust, if one considers what an immeasurable 
sum and what great wealth such a gift would be to 
poor people, and how to Richard it was only a pleasant 
proof of the King's good-will, which he calmly put in 
the fund for setting our house in order. Five hundred 
thalers he reserved for current expenses, and soon it 
had all vanished as it had come." 

In his own house Lepsius stood at the helm with a 
steady hand, but his wife ever strove to make his voy- 
age through life pleasant and happy. 

Her struggle for greater calmness and a more 
equable nature is touching, as is the loving humility 
with which she recognizes his superiority ; and often 
does a phrase, an interjection, in the midst of matter-of- 
fact records, give expression to her true and tender 
love. She says : " It is grand in Richard, that he can 
take everything so naturally. It comes from his per- 
fect honesty ; if I could only educate myself up to 
him." When her first little daughter was able to stand 
alone she wrote : " Richard and Anna, these names 
embrace my whole happiness, the fragrant blooming 
shower of blessings which Our Father in Heaven pours 
upon me from the abundant horn of plenty of His 
grace and love." 

The diaries are replete with such expressions. 
Especially neat and pointed are the little sketches of 
eminent men drawn by the young wife. Whoever was 


personally acquainted with Master Peter Cornelius, (he 
was a friend of my mother's, and indeed once made a 
portrait of me as a boy), will admit that it would not 
be possible to depict his external appearance more 
neatly and pointedly than in the following words from 
the diary of Frau Lepsius. She writes : " A little, 
thick-set man, with a black peruke, piercing black eyes, 
wide, kindly mouth, and with thought upon his wrinkled 

On the twenty-fifth of July, 1847, a daughter was 
granted to the young couple. She received the name 
of Isis Anna. Minister Jonas, the liberal-minded pas- 
tor of the household, found nothing wrong in the 
choice of the name of the heathen divinity Isis, but 
strange to say, Bunsen took serious exception to it, and 
gave expression to his disapproval in a letter. The 
happy father answered in the following letter, in which 
we see pleasantly manifested the joyous zest in life by 
which he was at that time animated. 

Our little Isis gives us infinite delight ; she thrives 
splendidly. Her mamma has carried her point by giv- 
ing her the name of Anna. I foresaw that I should 
furnish a subject for witticisms, in the name of Isis, to 
those people in Berlin who honor us with their atten- 
tion. It is necessary to throw them a few crumbs of 
that sort from time to time, so that they may not devise 
something worse. I was as little able to find any 
serious scandal in it as was the excellent Jonas who 
administered the baptism. Scarcely any one keeps to 


the Calendar for the sake of the Calendar itself, and I 
should much prefer Friedhelm and Maxhelene, the 
children's names recently given by Ranke, to the Fides, 
Spes and Charitas, or Titus, Ptolemeus, Sosthenes, Lot. 
Habakkuk, Methuselah, etc., of the Calendar. Yet 
Ranke comes very near to offending against the only 
limitation which I should admit; that of not choosing 
ludicrous names. Take Erica, Berenice, (that is Ver- 
onica,) or Emin, which is the name of young Wilden- 
bruch, the elder brother of the talented poet Ernest 
von Wildenbruch; no one has anything against such 
names as these and innumerable others, though they 
too are as little in the Calendar, and have as little 
Christian precedent, as a hundred thousand anag Ae-yo^a 
from the birth of Christ to our time, in all Christian 
countries. Besides, Isis, to every one who knows the 
Egyptian goddess, is a very honorable name, which 
can only recall the author of all good, a faithful spouse 
and sister, the model and recognized prototype of all 
queens. What the Romans made of her need trouble 
us as little as their opinion of the image of Jehovah in 
the Jewish temple, and can as little cast suspicion upon 
her as can the Christianity of the Königsberg impos- 
tors upon the name of Christian. If, in another year, 
I have a boy to baptize I shall not be obliged to call 
him Apis, as Osiris is already received in the Christian 
Calendar, under a much more beautiful form as Ono- 
phrius.* But I will take care not to impose upon him 

* Un noser, the good being, the Divinity as the author of all good, 
the Greek Agathodemon. 


the equally Christian name of the Typhon, " Set." I 
should like to see any one who would not as utterly 
fail in any theory for the giving of Christian names, 
as did, not long since, the law forbidding the Jews to 
bear Christian names. But, on the other hand, I con- 
sider it very wise to give the clergy a certain freedom 
to exclude unsuitable, scandalous names of every kind, 
according to their own honest judgment." 

Little Anna was followed by a second girl, Eliza- 
beth,* and the latter by four boys, to the delight of 
the grandfather in Naumburg. For although he had 
been blessed with six sons and three daughters, 
strangely enough, he had had bestowed upon him no 
other " Lepsius " grandchildren that those who sprung 
from the marriage of his son Richard. 

After the christening of Anna the family spent some 
delightful weeks in lovely Ilsenburg. The winter was 
passed in cheerful sociability and quiet enjoyment of 
their first-born, till in February, 1848, all other interests 
were entirely overshadowed by the news of the revolu- 
tion at Paris. Lepsius had already foreseen when in 

* Both daughters are long since married : Anna to Professor 
Valentiner, the astronomer, in Carlsruhe, Elizabeth to Pastor Siegel, 
who lived first in Tegel, afterwards in Neuenhagen near Berlin. 
Richard, the eldest son, is professor of geology and mineralogy at the 
Academy of Technology at Darmstadt, and married (o the daughter 
of Ernest Curtius. Bernard, lecturer on chemistry at the Senken- 
berg Institute at Frankfort on the Main, is married to a daughter of 
Professor Pauli, the Göttingen historian, since deceased. Reinhold 
is a painter. The father had a beautiful studio built in the new house 
in Kleist street for his talented son, and Johannes, after first devoting 
himself to philosophical studies with the greatest success, has recently 
passed his theological examination. 


Paris the downfall of the citizen king Louis Philippe, 
and though he hoped that the next movement for free- 
dom in France would be of benefit to the political de- 
velopment of Germany and Prussia, yet he feared that 
in those countries also violent uprisings of the people 
would be unavoidable. 

Each day was filled with increasing anxiety, the 
danger approached more closely, and yet, — a notable 
sight — there was no break in the fulfillment of the hus- 
band's duties, and everything held its accustomed 
course in the household, as well as in the social life of 
the capital. Apprehension was aroused for Vienna, on 
account of the dreadful Metternich administration ; all 
ears were on the watch for every rumor. The Em- 
peror of Russia was said to have been poisoned, Met- 
ternich to have been seized with an apoplectic fit in 
consequence of the news from Paris, and the Pope to 
have taken flight, and abandoned Rome. In spite of 
the tumult of the people on the streets during every 
evening of this remarkably beautiful month of March, 
anxiety for Berlin was dissipated, as in well informed 
circles they believed it certain that the King was in- 
clined to make great concessions. At last political in- 
terests overcame all others, and the grave academical 
instructor Lepsius, in his private lectures conversed 
with his pupils on the events of the day, instead of dis- 
cussing Egyptology. Then on the eighteenth of March 
the Berlin revolution broke out, in the midst of the 
concessions of the King, and the rejoicing of the popu- 
lace. We are in possession of interesting information 


on the course of this revolution, from the husband as 
well as from the wife. In those days politics had such 
power over every true man that even Lepsius took part 
in them incidentally. When Abeken brought him a 
paper much needed just at that time, a good concise 
proclamation for the Prince of Prussia, whom Lepsius 
especially esteemed, he immediately carried it to the 
press which was working for him, and had the foreman 
print, post, and distribute it. He understood perfectly 
that the revolution indicated a great step forward in the 
political life of his Fatherland, and his wife says that 
the Kreuzzeitung people, in an underhand way, placed 
them in a false position. The Bismarck family had 
lived in the same house with the Lepsiuses, and once 
when popular songs of liberty and " Not yet, not yet, 
is Poland lost," had been sung during a social evening 
at their rooms, Frau Elizabeth writes : " Thank God 
that the Bismarcks have left, or he would have got us 
into the Kreuzzeitung as Republicans." How times 
and men change ! These latter, fortunately, sometimes 
to better and greater. 

In September, 1848, Lepsius went to Frankfort, and 
from his letters to his wife we know with what warm 
interest he there followed the parliamentary transac- 
tions in St. Paul's Church. He had learned many 
things from the statesman Bunsen, and we have seen 
(page 122) how keenly he followed, from time to time, 
the" course of ecclesiastical politics in Prussia. On the 
whole his political opinions agreed with those of his 
patron in London. He wished to be not only a 


scholar and father, but a citizen also, and in 1848, he 
held it right "that every one should at least follow 
some banner, and a bad one rather than none at all." 

In the beginning of the year 1849, the political 
situation threatened to make it intolerable for his father 
to remain in Naumburg, under the authority of the 
town commissioners of that place (he had resigned his 
public office in 1847). Therefore Richard wrote to 
him : " If you should actually resolve to leave Naum- 
burg, here in Berlin you would certainly find much the 
greatest satisfaction for your higher intellectual pursuits 
and interests, which in themselves rank far above all 
political interests. Libraries, art collections, learned 
societies of every kind would be open to you, and in 
the more restricted circle of our own household, our 
relations and most intimate friends, you would once 
more find, as of old, peace, happiness and love, which 
have grown to be the greatest necessity of your life." 

In spite of the slight value which he allotted in 
these sentences to political interests, he yet followed 
the political development of his Fatherland to the last 
with warm sympathy. In 1849 he attributed the 
King's change to a policy independent of Austria to 
Bunsen's influence, and as events continued to shape 
themselves in a more and more gloomy fashion, he 
constantly insisted upon the necessity for a stronger 
exhibition of Prussian power, as due to the hegemony 
of Germany. 

He owed great gratitude to Frederick William IV. 
and acknowledged very thankfully the favor which this 


monarch had manifested to him personally, and the 
appreciation which he had always shown for his works 
and efforts. But in 1850, he already spoke with deep 
anxiety of Prussian politics. The Waldeck Process 
filled him with indignation, and in 1850, Frau Elizabeth, 
who was the echo of her husband's opinions, writes in 
the journal : " Our proud Prussia, the only refuge of 
German hopes, once more subject to the commands of 
Russia and Austria! .... I have never seen Richard 
so depressed on account of politics as he is now. I 
have seen tears in W. Grimm's eyes over Prussia's, — 
Germany's, — disgrace. . . . The Prince of Prussia must 
be beside himself at the shameful turn of affairs. . . . 
He will now be looked upon by all parties as the sole 
salvation of Prussia." After the humiliation at Olmiitz, 
and the brave stand of the Hessians for their constitu- 
tion, she writes : " Jacob Grimm said lately, ' I am 
proud to be a Hessian.' Alas for us, poor creatures, 
that we must say ' Let every Prussian be ashamed !' 
In the worst days of the revolution people were not so 
desperate and hopeless, so utterly overwhelmed as 
now. . . . The king approves of everything, and is 
pleased and cheerful !" Nevertheless she was warmly 
attached to Frederick William IV. and says of him: 
" What a character ! So noble, so conscientious, so 
kind, with such a comprehensive mind, — and yet he is 
not a great man." Later, after Frederick William IV. 
had left Berlin and removed to Potsdam, Lepsius 
wrote to his father : "Here the departure of the king 
has the effect of a death upon us. The recollection of 


him is very painful. On the other hand, new life 
springs up with the regency of the prince. Without 
precipitation, and with due calmness, many changes 
will soon be made, first in the leading men, and after- 
wards in the general tendencies." Lepsius gave lively 
expression to his delight at the dawn of the so-called 
" new era." 

With what enthusiasm did he afterwards follow the 
upraising of his Fatherland under King William I. 
Our noble Emperor was ever a gracious master to him, 
and Lepsius was always among the chosen few invited 
to the evening tea-drinkings in the imperial palace. 
To our colleague Diimichen the Emperor spoke of 
Egyptology as " a science which our Lepsius has 
called to life in Germany." To the author of this bi- 
ography also the same great emperor, in the presence 
•of their royal highnesses, the Grand- Duke and the 
Grand-Duchess of Baden, expressed himself with a 
warmth bordering on friendship regarding the great 
master of his science. 

The following occurrence, related by Frau Lepsius, 
is characteristic of Frederick William IV. and his rela- 
tion to Humboldt. A friend had been invited to Pots- 
dam with Lepsius and some others, and while there 
ingenuously begged the king to speak a good word 
for him to the Duke of Brunswick, who was also 
present. The applicant wished to be appointed Musi- 
cal Director at Brunswick. The monarch answered : 
"I cannot do anything for you in this matter; you 
must apply to Humboldt." 


All men of intellectual eminence who came to 
Berlin always visited the house of Lepsius. The ex- 
cellent missionary, Krapf, was once a guest there, and 
was invited to court with Lepsius. At table, the king 
asked the missionary, philologist and geographer, 
" How long do you propose to remain in Africa ?" and 
the latter answered : " Until I am dead. All my 
family are buried there, and where they are is my 

Besides his colleagues from the university and 
native and "foreign scholars, deputies to the Chamber, 
of all shades of opinion, also frequented Lepsius' 
house. It not only gave Frau Elizabeth the greatest 
pleasure to listen to the conversation of these men, 
which often took the form of lively debates, but it was 
also of real advantage to her. Three years after her 
marriage she writes : " These distinguished persons, 
with their different ways of thinking, strengthen the 
tolerance which lies in Richard's character, and teach 
me to accept and find pleasure in each one as he is." 

On the ninth of November, 185 1, was solemnized 
the baptism of the third child and first son. * The 
godparents were the grandfather Lepsius, Bunsen, 
represented by Abeken, Jacob Grimm, the great geo- 
grapher Charles Ritter, Ehrenberg, and several other 
ladies and gentlemen. 

Lepsius had invited Bunsen to become a sponsor in 
the following words : 

* Charles Richard George Lepsius, born on the nineteenth of 
September, 1851. 


" As you have more or less stood godfather to all 
my intellectual productions, I naturally have a lively 
wish that one of my real children might enter into this 
beautiful and reverential relation with you. Your 
friendly sympathy, and the fatherly love which you 
have always bestowed upon me, far beyond my 
capacity for any fitting return, permit me to hope that 
you will willingly fulfil this desire also. But for the 
child your name will be a dower whose value will in- 
crease with every year, and I already rejoice in spirit 
over the time when I can finally lead him to a full un- 
derstanding of its significance. My wife insists that he 
shall be called by my name ; but besides that he shall 
be named Charles, after my father, after you, and after 
Charles Ritter. Between these two we may perhaps 
insert a third, about which we are still hesitating, but 
it shall be neither a Pacomius, an Onophrius nor a 
Nilus, but an honest German name, possibly Jacob> 
after your fellow-godfather, Jacob Grimm, etc." 

At the christening it turned out that George and 
not Jacob had been chosen as the third name. This 
was after the first known ancestor of the Lepsius 
family, George Leps. * The christening feast was a 

* From the pamphlet written by father Lepsius on the occasion 
of the baptism of his oldest grandson Richard, entitled : The ances- 
tors of the Lepsius Family, Naumburg, 1851," we see that the 
family of Lepsius was originally called Leps, and appears tobe in- 
debted for its name to the little village of Leps, in the Duchy of An- 
halt-Dessau, the ancestral home of the family. It is derived perhaps 
from the Wendish Lipz. the linden-tree, which word must also be the 
root of the name of the city of Leipsic. The oldest authentic ances- 
tor is the master tawer, George Leps, at Trebbin in the Mittelmark, 
who died in 1699. The grandson of this George was the first who 


merry one, and the godmother has given a brief ac- 
count of the toasts which were drunk. That delivered 
by Jacob Grimm to the health of the godfathers is so 
characteristic of him that to everyone acquainted with 
this magnificent scholar and man it must seem as de- 
lightful as to the godmother it must have been agita- 
ting. " I like," so he began, "to come to the christen- 
ing of a child : it is always more agreeable than a 
wedding or a funeral feast, where one usually sees 
nothing of the principal persons." He then found 
fault with the christenings of the present day, the nu- 
merous godfathers, wherein the young Charles George 
Richard was not lacking, and said that " formerly it 
was much more solemn than now. Then there were 
only two godparents, the child was entirely stripped — 
there was more to be seen — and it was first plunged 
under water in the font, and then covered with a little 
shirt. More account was made of the godparents. 
After baptism the child had to go to them on every 
holiday, and received a gift from them. The church 
regarded baptism as a regeneration, and therefore it 
was considered of much greater importance; on this 
account the child was baptized immediately." Then he 
said that usually the godparents did not long survive 

changed the name Leps into Lepsius. His father, in addition to the 
tawer's craft, carried on a trade in leather and wool, "and was well 
off, and held in respect and esteem by his fellow citizens." At the 
baptism of his child, as if he designed him for a scholar, he bestowed 
upon him the Latin names, Petrus Christophorus. The latter it was 
who removed the family to Naumburg, and as Dr. jur. he was ad- 
ministrator of several courts, provost of the cathedral, etc. He died 
in 1793. He, the great grandfather of Richard Lepsius, like his 
grandfather and father, was a lawyer. 



the child's baptism (general contradiction), "his god- 
father had died half a year after his christening ; how- 
ever the boy could learn his name out of the books. 
The boy had three names, and that was particularly 
stupid.' 1 (This word was strongly emphasized, and 
Frau Lepsius' temper waxed hot). " He certainly only 
needed oite, for when he was fooling around on the 
street with other boys and his mother wanted to call to 
him out of the window, she would not cry : ' Charles- 
George-Richard come here,' but ' Richard, come here!' 
He had waited and listened, to see if the minister 
would not pronounce ' Jacob ' too, but in vain. What 
was there though in that name to take exception to ? 
It was indeed a Jewish name, but still Jacob had been 
a good man, and he could tell of many excellent 
people who had been called Jacob. The name pleased 
him very well, and it grieved him that the child had 
not been called by it." 

To these latter words Frau Lepsius adds the re- 
mark : " It grieved me too very much at that moment, 
and still more afterwards." 

Here we will break off the description of this toast. 
It had touched the honest man very nearly that he had 
to share with so many others the honor of being god- 
father to the first-born son of his beloved Lepsius, and 
he would have liked to see the little one grow up with 
his own good name, as he had been led to expect. It 
was never his way to conceal his feelings ; but nothing 
was farther from the childlike nature of this man, who 
in science was a giant, than any intention of giving pain. 


His image still lives most vividly in my soul. For 
many years my mother, and I with her, inhabited the 
same house with the Grimms, in Lenne street, and I 
know how right Frau Lepsius was, when she said in her 
diary that there was in all the world nothing more 
benevolent and kind-hearted than William Grimm's 
wife : that every one must feel to her as towards a be- 
loved mother. The kindness and cheerful friendliness 
with which she added to the happiness of all of us 
brothers and sisters, — who among us has forgotten 
them ? When Jacob met me on the way to school he 
always stroked my hair, and said : " Hurry, Flaxen- 
head." It was Jacob Grimm who afterwards intro- 
duced me to Lepsius : Frau Grimm I saw for the last 
time when I was ill in bed, and she brought me a de- 
licious cooling drink of fruit juice. Every memory of 
her is connected with something kind and lovely. 

If we except Abeken, the most beloved of all the 
learned friends of the Lepsius family were the Grimms 
and Gerhard, whose wife was Frau Elizabeth's intimate 
friend. This cordial feeling also extended to the chil- 
dren of William Grimm, and especially to Hermann, 
whose first poetic essays they watched with affection, 
but with impartial criticism. 

So passed the weeks and months. The winter was 
given to work and social pleasures in the city ; in the 
summer the wife and children went into the country. 
Longer journeys, such as the trip to upper Italy, were 
usually undertaken in the autumn. The family were 
very comfortable at Park-Birkenwäldchen near Berlin. 


In 1852 this was completely in the country, but it has 
long since been absorbed by the metropolis of Berlin. 
The husband often went thither to see his family, 
friends accompanied him, and in the repose of this rus- 
tic life Frau Elizabeth prepared the index for the letters 
from Egypt and Ethiopia. They were dedicated to A. 
v. Humboldt, and he received them with gratitude and 
emotion, although, to Lepsius' regret, the friendship 
between them had been troubled, in consequence of an 
affair which concerns people who are still living, and 
therefore cannot be spoken of here. 

In the summer of 1852, the first numbers of the 
great work on monuments were completed. But they 
had not yet been sent out, although Lepsius for several 
months had been insisting on their distribution. Finally 
he went once more to Sans Souci to urge the expedit- 
ing of the matter upon Niebuhr, and found him walk- 
ing with Gerlach upon a terrace. Just then the King 
stepped out on an upper terrace, and when he became 
aware of the Egyptologist called down to him " Lep- 
sius, Lepsius." 

The monarch then shook him by the hand, and a 
conversation ensued which, on account of its charac- 
teristic turn, we will give just as it was recorded imme- 
diately afterwards. 

King : " I have not seen you for along time. You 
have grown quite stout." 

Lepsius makes some reply, and then speaks of the 
delay in distributing the completed numbers of the 
great work. 


King (to Niebuhr) : " Tell me exactly how it 
stands ?" 

Niebuhr : " It is just as Lepsius represents it. Your 
Majesty has commanded the distribution, but the order 
has not been carried out." 

King : " Why, what delays it ?" 

Niebuhr : "I have already written three times to 
the Minister about it." 

King : " What Minister ?" 

Niebuhr: "Raumer." 

King : " Oh, then I understand it ! If he has any- 
thing to do, it is always a year before it is finished. But 
don't repeat that to him. Complain once more, Nie- 

" Richard has also heard from Humboldt that the 
object of Niebuhr's mysterious mission this spring (1852), 
was to invite Bunsen to resign,* which he, naturally, 
politely deprecated. And who was it they wished to 
put in his place ? Bismarck Schönhausen, that smart, 
self-conceited young fellow! This is grand!" 

Later Frau Elizabeth learned to appreciate fully this 
" smart young fellow." 

That autumn Lepsius went alone to England and 
Scotland. In London he worked successfully for the 
introduction of his standard alphabet. He went by 
w r ay of Leyden, and again immersed himself in the 
treasures of the museum there, and enjoyed the hospi- 
tality of the excellent Leemans. It was at Warmond, 

* From the post of ambassador to London. 


on the estate of the mother of the distinguished Egyp- 
tologist and Director of the Museum that the idea of 
making a similar delightful summer house for his own 
family first occurred to him. 

In September Frau Elizabeth journeyed to meet 
him at Strasburg, where she was hospitably received by 
the family of Kreis, her husband's student friend. She 
then returned home with her husband by way of Stutt- 
gart, Munich and Nuremberg. 

The old life began anew after their return. In ad- 
dition to the accustomed guests came also General von 
Radowitz and Count Raczynski, both of whom Frau 
Lepsius characterizes sharply and aptly. She concludes 
with the following parallel, after she has mentioned how 
astonishing the wit and knowledge of Radowitz ap- 
pear to her : " Raczynski does not lead the conversa- 
tion, he rather watches it, and lets himself be talked to ; 
on this account he likes the society of clever people, 
while Radowitz prefers an astonished and attentive 
audience, as he is always striving to make an impres- 

But such distinguished visitors were the exception : 
their large and inspiring circle of acquaintances was 
almost exclusively composed of the leaders of the Ber- 
lin literati. When there was no company in the 
evening, and Lepsius was not attending any of the 
societies of which we shall have to speak, he played 
chess, and liked to have his wife play on the piano at 
the same time. Often too there were " musical evenings '? 
in which both husband and wife took part, together 


with guests, like Hermann Grimm and others, who were 
not members. In the winter of 1852-53, a numerous 
company assembled nearly every week at the Lepsius 
house. On the seventh of April we hear of their giv- 
ing a large ball. " The Old Guard comes to the front," 
writes Frau Elizabeth. " Even I resolved to dance 
again after an interval of eight years. At first it 
seemed strange to me to be whirling round, but by de- 
grees I took pleasure in it again, especially in dancing 
with Richard, who was really a very delightful host. It 
is so charming in him, — the way in which he does 
everything that he has to do with his whole heart and 
without any reserve, whether it be grave or gay." 

The pleasures of this winter were soon brought to 
an end, for the mistress of the house lost her dearest 
friend, and in April died the excellent father of the 
master of the house. The affliction of Lepsius was 

" Of all the family his father was nearest to him," 
says Frau Elizabeth. " He always felt the greatest de- 
light and the most genuine sympathy in everything 
that concerned Richard, in all his labors, his successes, 
his honors : with him Richard could talk freely of all 
his intellectual interests, for he understood all abstruse 
questions, and had, besides, the strongest paternal feel- 
ing; delighted in our children, etc. . . . Richard thinks 
now with every book that when he has written it, he 
can no longer give his father pleasure by sending it to 

A quiet season followed, and in their domestic re- 


tirement during the ensuing months they made some 
experiments at table-tipping, according to the current 
fashion at that time. They were very successful, and 
the enthusiasm of the mistress of the house and her 
interest in the supernatural were strongly excited; 
Lepsius himself treated the subject more coolly. 
" Richard, Abeken and Edward saw that we lifted up 
our hands by degrees, and yet the table moved ; but, 
because it did not do so again, Richard thinks we had 
deceived ourselves." 

When at last the formal mourning was laid aside, 
and life again imposed its demands upon the Lepsiuses, 
the remembrance of the festival of 1852-53, formed the 
foundation for many charming performances, whose 
theatre was to be the new house which the married 
pair were about to build. 

In October, 1853, the family had received notice to 
quit their dwelling in Behren Street, on account of the 
sale of the property, and they had therefore resolved to 
build a home of their own. With the same enthusiasm 
with which she threw herself into everything, Frau 
Elizabeth became interested in the carrying out of this 
idea, and, scale in hand, drew plan after plan, until she 
at last completed a design which met with the ap- 
proval of her husband and his friends the architects, 
especially Erbkam. In fact it provided for all the 
family needs ; but the choice of a building site was 
difficult. Lepsius at first fixed his eye upon the great 
Seeger lumber yard, which was at that time on the 
drill ground, now the Royal Square. It was then 


just about to be divided up, but the lots there were so 
dear, and the owner felt so confident of the purchase 
of the whole plot by the Treasury, that Lepsius was 
forced to look about for another situation. Long 
weeks passed in this search, and, among other stran- 
gers, the Lepsiuses received Oscar von Redwitz, before 
breaking up housekeeping for the summer to go with 
some intimate friends on a journey to Lübeck. The 
diary says of him : " He is the poet of the sentimental- 
religious Catholic Amaranth, which is so much read, 
(though not by us), and admired. He is a lively 
young Viennese, na'ive, but not at all sentimental, so 
that he is better than his work." The future undoubt- 
edly proved that this talented poet was capable of 
things far more charming than what were at that time 
his most celebrated works. 

The wife and children passed the rest of the sum- 
mer in beautiful Friedrichroda, Elgersburg and Ilme- 
nau in Thiiringia, while the husband went to Schlierren- 
berg in Mecklenburg, whither he had been invited by 
Count Schlieffen, who had traveled through Egypt 
intelligently and with open eyes and who had brought 
home with him a Nubian from the neighborhood of the 
Cataract. As we know, Lepsius made use of this 
African, named 'Ali', who was an intelligent man and 
had entire command of his own language, to supply 
many deficiencies in the Nubian grammar, at which 
he still continued to work. 

In January, 1854, the Berlin Academy of Sciences 
had resolved to have type cast for printing Lepsius' 


standard alphabet, and before the beginning of Feb- 
ruary, he traveled once more to London in order to as- 
sure the acceptance of it on the other side of the Chan- 
nel. The well-known missionary Kölle had already 
declared that he should make use of it. While Lep- 
sius was working there with tact and success to in- 
troduce his alphabet, his wife became the mother of 
a boy, who, after the father's return, received the name 
of Bernard at a merry and delightful christening feast. 
This was the Christian name of Frau Lepsius' father, 
the celebrated composer, B. Klein. Among the many 
god-parents of the child were A. v. Humboldt, the 
Counts von SchlierTen and von Usedom, Peters, etc. 
Frau Lepsius was especially pleased with the presence 
of Humboldt after the estrangement which had taken 
place between him and Lepsius, but the obliging man- 
ner in which he said to her : " I thank you especially 
for having had the kindness to give the child my name,"' 
could not inspire her with any warmth of feeling. 
E. Curtius' daughter, Dorothea, was baptized at the 
same time with little Bernard. She afterwards be- 
came the wife of Richard, the eldest son of the Lep- 
siuses. Jacob Grimm toasted the two children, and 
this time in a very poetical and delightful manner. In 
the course of the toast he compared the boy with hail, 
which descends roughly and impetuously, and the 
maiden with snow, which murmurs softly and gently 

The spring was passed in searching for a building 
site and in pleasant social intercourse. On the twenty- 


fifth of May, 1854, they met Paul Heyse for the first 
time at Schott's, and Frau Elizabeth wrote in her 
diary : " It is a long time since I have seen Richard so^ 
fascinated with anyone as he was with this young, 
animated, candid, handsome, excellent, enthusiastic, 
most lovable poet." 

Very painful to Lepsius was the downfall of his old 
patron and friend Bunsen, which occurred at this time. 
He had been offered the position of Minister of Eccle- 
siastical Affairs at Berlin, but in the beginning of '54, 
while in London, he declared that in case of necessity 
Prussia would side with England. This set the King 
quite beside himself and General von Groben was sent 
to London to reprimand Bunsen. The attempts at 
mediation of his son Ernest, whom he had sent to 
Berlin, were vain, and, in spite of the Prince of Prus- 
sia's eager intercession for him, the Camarilla, and es- 
pecially Gerlach and Manteuffel, had such strong in- 
fluence over the King that he forsook his friend Bunsen, 
and permitted him to be dismissed. 

But the anxieties of house-building were soon to- 
place all others in the background, for a suitable plot 
was finally found in Bendler Street, (which at that time 
was sparsely built up,) and was bought on favorable 
conditions. The space at their disposal was large 
enough to permit of laying out an extensive garden, 
beside the roomy house. 

At the laying of the corner stone, on the eighteenth 
of October, 1854, Lepsius made an admirable speech,, 
from which we shall give some extracts later on. This 


was of course the occasion of a festal celebration, and 
friend Abeken composed the following sonnet for it : 

" Within the ground all life doth first have birth, 
Richly the tree unfolds its leafy pride, 
Yet in the earth's dark night its germ must hide, 
And downward still the root strikes into earth. 

And that this house may reach its highest worth, 
The master now, with wisdom for his guide, 

In the firm soil lays the foundations wide, 
That he may bind it firmly with the earth. 

Yet is there one firm ground where build we must, 

On which our house's peace we gladly found, 
That still its sacred hearth with joy be filled ; 

This is fixed faith in God and happy trust, 

With which forever love and hope are bound, 
And thus a temple with the house we build." 

Lepsius had intentionally caused the corner stone 
to be laid where the living room of the mistress of the 
house was afterwards to be raised, and in his dedica- 
tory speech he explained his motives for this in beauti- 
ful words. The house when finished had a fine and 
stately appearance, with its Gothic arches over doors 
and windows, its battlements on tower and roof, its 
handsome entrance, its covered piazza on the ground 
floor, and open balcony on the upper story, and its in- 
scriptions in carved stone. 

When it was ready for habitation, Abeken, the 
former divine, added the following second sonnet to 
the first : 


That here the temple with the house should blend 
On the foundation stone we wrote, and lo ! 

Sank it far underfoot, that even so 

The darkling earth its strength to us might lend. 

Yet must from Heaven the mighty power descend 
That upward bids the earthly germ to grow, 

And Life and Love must still from Heaven flow, 
The sacred fire on the hearth to tend. 

Therefore we lift our hands and hearts to Heaven, 

And humbly here its blessing we await, 
Praying for peace and safety as is due, 

That Love and Light and Spirit may be given 

Our handiwork henceforth to consecrate, 
That this the home may be a temple true ! 

On the twelfth of July, 1856, Lepsius with his own 
hand wrote the following maxims in a new diary of his 

God's peace from Heaven 
To this house be given. 

Unless God's grace we gain 
Our building is in vain. 

Within this little book be you 

To these, our house's mottoes, true. 

The second motto was cut in stone, in Gothic 
letters and surrounded by arabesques, over the broad 
projecting window of the wife's room, on the side of 
the building towards the street ; the first was over the 
front door. The palms over the entrance gate were 
intended to call to memory the Palm Sunday on 


which Lepsius and his wife had been betrothed. The 
wish expressed in the first motto was fulfilled, for 
the house in Bendler Street was truly a temple of 
peace, under the visible favor of God. Until the 
growing city of Berlin laid claim to the broad extent of 
the beautiful garden and Lepsius felt himself forced to 
sell it, their house was the home of true love, intimate 
family life, steadfast reverence for God — in the man 
no less than in the wife, — and earnest, unwearied 
labor, as well as cheerful song and music, and a happy 

The father of Lepsius died before the house was 
completed, but he was able to invite his mother to 
come and live with him " at Berlin, in the country." 
However, the beautiful outlook " towards the canal 
and Schöneberg" was soon built up. The house was 
constructed in the English Gothic style, which he had 
learned to like in Great Britain, and which few under- 
stood as well as he (see page 131). To his delight, 
its pleasing appearance, with the slightly-pointed arches 
over windows and doors, and the balcony, with its 
Gothic parapet of sandstone, proved so attractive that, 
as he wrote to his mother : " our neighbor has also built 
in the Gothic style, and, indeed, two houses at once." 
" I am to assist him with money," he continued, " for 
the third, on the corner, and the man on the other 
corner will also build a Gothic house. That makes a 
whole Gothic quarter." 

But how differently things turned out ! The stately 
building which was to have been a home for remote 


descendants has vanished from the earth, and only a 
few traces remain of the Bendler Street Gothic. 
During the first years after they moved into the new 
house they improved every opportunity which offered 
to exhibit the beauty of the chosen style of architecture. 
When for example it was necessary, on account of any 
festivity, to " illuminate," they lit up the whole front, 
and especially the large balcony, with little lamps 
which followed the lines of the arches. 

The fine garden gave special pleasure to Lepsius. 
After he had had tea at his writing table he always 
took a walk there, in winter as well as in summer, and 
whether the weather was good or bad. He felt a 
" special interest in it, and knew it all by heart." The 
trees which soon overshadowed it had been planted on 
various happy occasions by dear guests and friends of 
the household, in memory of the delightful hours which 
they had passed under the roof of Lepsius, and as a 
visible symbol and token of the friendship which bur- 
geoned and blossomed anew with each year. Alex- 
ander von Humboldt, Bunsen, the Grimms, Ehrenberg, 
E. Curtius and many others had planted their trees, 
and on each was a little tablet which bore the name of 
him who had set it in the earth. Foreign friends too, 
who could not come to Berlin and attend to the plant- 
ing themselves, sent small trees to be set out. For ex- 
ample, the Director of the museum at Leyden, already 
mentioned several times, (see pages 123 and 245) sent 
a variety of Betula which had been named after him 
Betula Lema?isiaua, by a nursery gardener at War- 


mond. As the trees which he first sent did not arrive 
he despatched others, and these throve and long re- 
minded the Lepsius family of their Dutch friend. The 
garden was a living and shady temple of friendship, 
and what beautiful festivals were celebrated there ! 

Plays and spectacular performances were often 
given in the fine spacious apartments of this house on 
the birthday of the head of the family, which occurred 
shortly before Christmas. They were distinguished by 
the same thoughtful intelligence which had given rise 
to the tree-planting and laid the corner stone under 
the living-room of the mistress of the house. The 
ideas were usually furnished by Frau Elizabeth. Thus 
a fable was once represented, interspersed with tableaux 
vivants, which the children and their little friends un- 
dertook to produce. The subject was the standard 
alphabet (see page 104) of their father, which was per- 
sonified as Miss Alphabeta Standarda, and represented 
in the different stages of its development. The dia- 
logue was both sprightly and well written, in the best 
style of fable, and seasoned with many merry and sat- 
irical allusions. At one time there were tableaux 
vivants after antique personages and the pictures of 
Flaxman, and then again the trees from the garden 
made their appearance. Before this, the treasure- 
house of Rhampsinitus had been represented accord- 
ing to Platen. Similar performances, always original, 
thoughtful, and excellently executed in detail, delighted 
the guests, the children who usually had to take part 
in them, and especially the host himself. When a ball 


was given, too, they never failed to have particularly 
pretty and original cotillion figures, for which the poet 
and faithful friend of the family, Abeken, composed the 

On July the fourteenth, 1857, the third boy was 
born, and at his baptism on the second of August, he 
received the name of Reinhold. He was named after 
the brother who had never been forgotten, and who 
had expired in Rome, when twenty-nine years old, in 
the arms of the godfather. 

In September of the same year the Lepsiuses had 
the great pleasure of welcoming Bimsen for the first 
time in their own house. He had been invited by 
Frederick William IV. to take part in the assembly of 
the " Evangelical Alliance " which met at Berlin. The 
King had indeed dropped him as a statesman, but the 
letter of invitation which he sent to Heidelberg, where 
the former ambassador then lived, was as cordial and 
urgent as if the monarch had preserved his old friend- 
ship for him whom he had " deserted." Bunsen must 
come, wrote the King, firstly on account of the busi- 
ness itself, secondly for the sake of his own (Bunsen's) 
renown, and thirdly to please the King. The latter 
wrote with great enthusiasm of the " Alliance." Fi- 
nally, he added most cordially that Bunsen must not 
refuse to let an old friend be his host and care for his 
journey there and back and his entertainment in the 
palace. On Bunsen's arrival the King embraced him 
before the whole court, but only sent for him once after- 
wards to converse with him. The Camarilla hated the 


man of independent thought, and the King had already 
accustomed himself to submit to it. 

But on the other hand, Lepsius' delight at receiv- 
ing his revered patron and fatherly friend in his own 
home, and showing him his house, was unbounded, 
and as great as it was heartfelt. " On Sunday," (Sep- 
tember thirteenth, '57), writes Frau Elizabeth, "Bun- 
sen was as lovely and splendid as ever. At table he 
proposed our healths, with a little speech, in which he 
first expressed his delight at being once more in Berlin, 
where he had believed he could never come again, and 
whither he had now been summoned in so honorable a 
manner that he could return with pleasure. But to 
•find us so agreeably and excellently settled was one of 
the brightest spots of his sojourn here. In the most 
sincere and heartfelt manner he expressed his happiness 
in our family fortunes, and wished that God would still 
continue to bless us, and that ; ' Thy wife shall be as a 
fruitful vine, thy children like olive-plants round about 
thy table.' He reminded us, too, that his friendship 
with Lepsius had now lasted for more than twenty 
years, that he loved him like a son ; indeed the dear 
man even included me (Frau Elizabeth) in the circle 
of his affections; ' I love you like my own children.' 

" How warmly and deeply were we touched by 
this speech, of which I have here repeated only an im- 
perfect fragment ! If it were possible, I should be 
fonder than ever of Bunsen. Where else, in a man of 
such distinction, can one find such warmth and cordi- 
ality of feeling, such sincere and faithful friendship ?" 


Every leisure hour was spent by Bunsen in the 
Lepsius' house, which at this time was the scene of a 
great celebration. This was arranged in honor of the 
beloved and revered guest, and some of the most dis- 
tinguished members of the Alliance were invited to be 
present at it. It is not necessary to say how pleasant 
it must have been to the scholarly statesman to find 
assembled here Ehrenberg and Gerhard, J. Grimm, 
whom he had not previously known, and with whom 
he conversed at length, Pertz, Peters, Pinder, Geffken, 
Schelling, Stiiler, Olfers, Abeken, the former chaplain 
of his embassy, General Superintendent Hoffman, Dr. 
Barth, the divine from Wiirtemberg, and many other 
leading men in science and in the evangelical church. 
Lepsius was especially delighted just at that time by 
once more meeting Lobstein, who had first invited him 
in Bunsen's name to take up the study of Egyptology, 
and who had since become French ambassador to 

The members of the Alliance had assembled from 
all parts of the world. They met in Berlin, held ses- 
sions, and listened to many orators, but the great results 
which had been anticipated from this congress failed to 
manifest themselves, or were dissipated in smoke ; in- 
deed, shortly before its close the stamp of absurdity 
was set upon it by Krummacher of Westphalia, who 
was a strictly orthodox pastor and the cousin of the 
Berlin minister. At the last meeting but one this 
zealot openly, and in a spirit of denunciation, expressed 
his regret that the famous French preacher, Merle 


d'Aubigne, had, on the steps of the railway station, em- 
braced and kissed a man whose rationalism and Ro- 
manism must be a terror to the assembly. The man 
thus proscribed was no less a person than Bunsem 
Unfortunately this absurd attack was not disregarded* 
but called forth a most unpleasant controversy. 

After these days of excitement life went on in its 
accustomed course for the Lepsius household. The 
hours of leisure were agreeably spent in the favorite 
diversions of the husband, boccia in the garden, and 
chess in the house. New guests were added to the 
old. Among them were Wichern the founder of the 
" reformatory for vagrant children " at Hamburg* 
whose efforts filled Frau Elizabeth with enthusiasm* 
von Putlitz the poet, and the charming Erdmann from 
Halle, who seasoned many a meal for them with his 
delightful humor. Humboldt, too, came occasionally* 
and told them much of the mournful condition of the 
King. The former was once conversing on serious 
scientific subjects, and with the entire concurrence of 
the monarch, but when Potsdam was spoken of, al- 
though he was staying there at that time, the unhappy 
sovereign could not remember where the place was. 
At this time, (1852), Lepsius presented his Book of 
Kings, which was then completed, to the Prince of 
Prussia, (our Emperor.) The latter showed himself 
full of interest in it, and after this audience the author 
said he had been especially struck by the quiet, sim- 
ple, benevolent nature of the Prince, in contrast to the 
intellectually active, restless character of the King. 


Mommsen had been summoned to Berlin in 1857, 
and enjoyed meeting the family of Lepsius, but with 
regard to scientific, and especially chronological, ques- 
tions, there was many a dispute between these two 
great scholars. 

Lepsius worked much in the garden for the sake of 
his health, and whatever this plot of ground yielded, in 
the way of vegetables, fruit, eggs and milk, (they kept 
chickens and a cow of their own), was named Hathor- 
cabbage, Hathor-apples, etc. Hermann Grimm had 
given this name to the special products of his friend's 
place, and thus recalled the great goddess who at Den- 
dera was styled the " dispenser of all the goods of 
life," and to whom, as the feminine principle in nature, 
pertained all the gifts which furnish sustenance and 
pleasure to man. 

In 1858 the brothers Schlagintweit also returned 
from their successful journey through Asia. They 
came to Berlin, and wished to sell their collections 
there, but many things were unfavorable to this pro- 
ject, and, altogether, they met with no good fortune in 
the Prussian capital. Frau Lepsius relates that they 
had succeeded in bringing a white ass from the Hima- 
layas to Berlin, in good health and lively. When he 
arrived his transport had already cost two thousand 
thalers. It was necessary to take him from the rail- 
way station to the zoological garden ; but in going 
through Potsdam Street he became refractory, and 
would not follow his leader any farther. They put a 
rope around his neck, to pull him forwards by force, 


and the consequence was that the white ass from the 
Himalayas choked, and met with an unforeseen death 
at Berlin in Potsdam Street. 

During the latter part of the summer of 1858 the 
family again stayed at Ilsenburg in the Hartz, and in 
December of the same year Frau Elizabeth presented 
her husband with the fourth and last boy. He re- 
ceived the name of Richard Ernest John, and amongst 
the godfathers was the faithful college comrade of the 
head of the family, A. Kreiss,* at that time a minister 
at Strasburg, as well as E. Curtius, "our splendid,, 
ideal friend." After the christening Frau Elizabeth 
wrote : " May his name John ever remind me that it 
is my great and sacred task to rear him to be a true 
John ; one who loves his Lord and follows in his foot- 
steps." This John has now became a divine, after 
having produced several promising first works as a 
philosopher and student of aesthetics. 

In April, 1859, Lepsius traveled to Munich, for the 
centennial anniversary of the Academy, and there 
made the acquaintance of the excellent Thiersch, J. v. 
Liebig, Riehl, E. Geibel and other scholars and artists. 
He spent much time with his old friend, the celebrated 
architect, v. Klenze, and he also visited Kaulbach in 
his studio. In the summer of 1859 Lepsius refreshed 
himself by an excursion to Rügen with his friend 
Wiese, and late in the autumn he took a trip with his 
wife and the oldest little girl to Saxon Switzerland and 
Dresden, where they also made the acquaintance of 

* See page 38. 


Schnorr von Karolsfeld. " I looked up," wrote Frau 
Elizabeth, " with a sort of devotion, to the old and thin 
but fine and intellectually vivid face of this man, 
whose compositions express such deep and fervent 
Christian feeling" We also learn here that the famous 
little castle of Souchay at Loschwitz on the Elbe is an 
enlarged copy of the Lepsius house, which had especi- 
ally pleased the owner of the castle and his architect 
Arnold, in Berlin, whither they had gone to investigate 
the different styles of house-building. 

Lepsius and his wife were deeply distressed by the 
death of Alexander v. Humboldt, on May sixth, 1859, 
but in the following months they encountered other 
losses by death which were still harder to bear. Soon 
after their return home Jonas, the faithful, large- 
hearted pastor of the household, died, and his depart- 
ure filled the family with grief. Among those who 
knew him, and his truly admirable, profound and in- 
finitely lovable character, his memory must long be 
cherished for the candor and courage with which, by 
words and actions, he defended the freedom of re- 
ligious conviction during the darkest days of church 
life in Prussia. But yet another and more painful loss 
was ordained for the family, for on the twenty-eighth 
of November, i860, died Bunsen, the man to whom 
Lepsius was most deeply indebted, and to whom he 
had clung with the love of a son. Also on the third 
of January, 1861, Frederick William IV. died, and the 
reverential words respecting him with which the wife 
filled many pages of her diary, are to be considered as 


an echo of the feelings with which the husband re- 
garded this king, whose weaknesses he could not over- 
look but whose great qualities he was glad to exalt in 
order to give them grateful praise. 

Among the old friends of the family were the Pin- 
ders and Partheys, Erbkam, the Grimms, Trendelen- 
burgs, Brandis, Olshausens, v. Sybel, Beselers, GefTken, 
Duncker, v. Tiele, who was afterwards Assistant Secre- 
tary of State, George v. Bunsen, the Wilmowskis, 
Count Usedom, and the witty Strauss, who had trav- 
eled through Palestine, Wichern, Meyer von Rinteln, 
the amiable Mrs. Curtis, with whom we ourselves were 
well acquainted, the publisher Hertz, Count SchlierTen, 
Weidenbach, the Homeyers, the Balans and Salpius, 
the Wieses, the two married couples of Peters and 
Drakes, the traveler Robinson, Weiss, and so on. To 
these was added Droysen, who had received an ap- 
pointment at Berlin in 1859. But the highest place 
among them all was held by " Uncle Abeken." There 
is some ludicrous association with this able man, on 
account of the passages regarding him which appear in 
Busch's interesting book on " Count Bismarck and His 
People." But Frau Elizabeth's diary shows us that he 
had a deep and faithful nature, that his quick intelli- 
gence apprehended and appreciated the poetical aspect 
of every incident in life, that he was a good adviser 
and ready in that capacity to render every service, and 
also an indefatigable worker. Where duty demanded 
it he knew how to keep silence as few men do, though 
he was of a communicative disposition, and had made 


himself so at home in every department of science that 
Lepsius counted him one of the most learned men of 
"his time. If he was questioned about political affairs, 
such as the restoration of the constitution of 1831 in 
Hesse, the preparation of which had devolved upon 
him, his only answer was : " I have not read the papers 
to-day." He had been no less faithful to the Bunsens 
than to the Lepsiuses, and his little failings will be 
willingly overlooked by any one who knows with what 
steadfast courage he stayed by the ambassador's wife 
at Rome during the worst cholera season, and what 
sacrifices he was ready to make for his friends in case 
of need. One whom Prince Bismarck so trusted could 
be no insignificant man. That in him which provoked 
a smile wa^ chiefly his low stature, his manner, which was 
sometimes immoderately vivacious, and that sentimen- 
tality which even to Frau Bunsen was not always 
agreeable. Nevertheless this distinguished lady es- 
teemed him very highly, though she occasionally 
begged him to write her less about his feelings and 
more about facts. But at least this sentimentality had 
nothing artificial about it. It sprang from an ardent 
spirit, which was perhaps only too tender and impres- 
sible. — As long as he taught at Göttingen, the favor- 
ite guest of the Lepsiuses was E. Curtius, and his recall 
to Berlin afforded the greatest happiness to that house- 
hold. Max Müller too, when he came from Oxford, 
was received with open arms, and the attachment 
which Lepsius felt to him, may be discerned from the 
journal of his wife, as well as from his letters to Bun- 


sen. Amongst their younger friends George v. Bun- 
sen had best known how to win the hearts of the 

Frau Elizabeth superintended the details of the 
children's education with the greatest care and affec- 
tion, and in so doing often fatigued herself to the 
point of exhaustion. The father directed the plan ac- 
cording to which he desired the training of the boys to 
be conducted, but it was only in questions of moment 
that he interposed and gave his decision. Two ladies 
who were sisters of Hofmeyer the family physician, and 
who had at one time conducted the principal school 
for young ladies in Berlin, told Frau Lepsius at Easter, 
1862, of a twelve year old orphan, of English descent 
and good family, who was alone in the world and en- 
tirely unprovided for. Frau Lepsius immediately de- 
clared her willingness to adopt her, and receive her as 
a seventh child among her own six. Her husband 
quickly consented, and they never regretted this kind 
act, for, to their delight, Ellen grew up to be a lovely 
young girl. She was always treated in every respect 
like one of the daughters of the house, and, like them,, 
she long since married. 

After the accession of King William, Lepsius con- 
tinued to observe the course of politics attentively, and 
never neglected any of the duties of a citizen. In 
1862 he was chosen as an elector of the first electoral 
class for his district, and by the conservatives, although 
he in no wise approved of their efforts. His views co- 
incided with those of the party which at that time was 


called " Old Liberal." His friend, Meyer von Rin- 
teln, stood well at court, and was full of court anec- 
dotes. He once told how the Elector of Hesse had 
got in a passion, and hurt himself so seriously by 
giving his valet a thrashing, that he had been obliged 
to keep his bed. Thereupon Herman Grimm impro- 
vised the following riddle. 

' ' Had my whole been truly my second, he certainly would not 
have been 
Obliged to seek my first in bed, as we have recently seen."* 

Queen Augusta, Meyer reported, had correctly 
guessed " Kurfürst." 

Meyer was also a very talented poet, and he once 
read his tragedy of " German Youth " at Lepsius' 
home, in the presence of General v. Willisen, who had 
had to oversee the Prussian execution at Hesse. The 
tendency of the play was to show that only under the 
Prussian imperial rule could Germany obtain tranquil- 
ity, peace and new power. Frau Lepsius had long 
before confided the same thought to her diary, and 
Willisen agreed with it warmly. 

The wife was as fond of traveling as the husband, 
but during the first half of the summer he was kept at 
home by his duties as professor, and she by her in- 
terest in their own beautiful garden, and in the educa- 
tion of the children. By midsummer Berlin became 
unendurable to them both, and they were accustomed 

* In " Kurfürst" (Elector) the first syllable means " cure," and 
the second " prince." — Trans. 


to leave home usually in July with the children, who 
then had their holidays. In the autumn of 1863 they 
took a longer journey, to Cologne and the Swiss 
Rhine, with their elder daughter Anna and Uncle Abe- 
len. Shortly before the master of the house com- 
menced his lectures they returned to Berlin, where their 
delightful social life began anew. Frau Elizabeth suf- 
fered from many physical ailments, especially " tic 
douloureux" and had also assumed an almost oppres- 
sive number of domestic, pedagogic, social and benevo- 
lent duties. When she felt greatly in need of refresh- 
ment she retreated for a few days to Sacrow, a pretty 
and charmingly situated little village on the Havel 
near Potsdam, and on returning home she would re- 
sume with renewed strength the labors which awaited 

After the death of Jonas, the family pastor was first 
Snethlage, who was then growing old, and afterwards 
the vigorous and manly Court Chaplain Kögel. In 
spite of his tendency to greater strictness, this latter 
entirely filled the place to Frau Lepsius of the de- 
ceased friend whom she so deeply lamented. After 
one of his sermons (1865) she wrote in the diary: "To 
be able to preach like Kögel ! I should think that the 
highest earthly happiness. What a blessing for us!" 

On the twenty-eighth of February, 1866, Lepsius 
started on his second journey to. Egypt, the details of 
which are given on page 201. He was alone except 
for the faithful draughtsman Weidenbach. While he 
was on the way, Uncle Abeken became engaged to, 


and subsequently married, Fraulein Helene von Olfers, 
a daughter of the Director of the museum. The fear 
lest the old friend of the house should change proved 
unfounded, for as a married man he still preserved his 
old friendship for the Lepsiuses. 

The master of the house returned home sooner 
than he had been expected. He had given up the 
journey to upper Egypt for several reasons, chief 
among which was the great inundation of the Nile. 
He was met at Berlin by the clang of arms. A civil 
war appeared inevitable, and Bismarck was as little of 
a favorite in Bendler street as in other constitutional 
circles of the country, though the sagacity of Lepsius 
and the information derived from Abeken, who always 
regarded his chief with fervent admiration, had caused 
the Lepsiuses to repose great confidence in him. At 
court, too, he had many more bitter opponents and 
enemies than friends, and when, shortly before the 
Avar, Bismarck injured his foot, a gentleman who held 
a situation near the Queen uttered the pointed bon- 
mots, " His foot hurts him because he has gone too 
far," and "The cloven hoof is showing." 

But never did the feeling of a nation towards a 
great man undergo such a sudden, universal and com- 
plete revolution as that towards Bismarck during the 
short months of the war of 1866. At that time Frau 
Lepsius, with the ardent enthusiasm peculiar to herself 
and with the assistance of her daughters, made herself 
most useful in the Hospital Association and still more 
in the Elizabeth Hospital. The diary records the pre- 


liminaries of peace with anxious interest, and contains 
the following anecdote, perhaps from the mouth of 
Abeken : "At the negotiations for peace Benedetti 
began to speak cautiously of slight enlargements of the 
French boundaries, as Prussia was now so well rounded 
out. Then Bismarck cried : ' Give me that in writing ! 
To-morrow I must present a demand for a credit of 
sixty millions for war expenses to the Chamber; with 
this paper in my hand I can ask for double the sum.' " 
Before the war many an angry word had been ut- 
tered against Bismarck in Bendler Street, but when a 
party of literati had assembled there on the twenty- 
second of July, 1866, they soon began to talk of poli- 
tics, and each one gave expression to the admiration 
with which Bismarck's greatness inspired him. Even 
Frau Lepsius praised the man whom she had previ- 
ously judged none too mildly. (See page 245.) They 
all agreed that it was now possible for the first time to 
understand this great statesman's aims and mode of 
action, and that as an envoy to the Diet he must un- 
doubtedly have already grasped the idea which had 
now been carried into execution in such a wonderful 
manner. But Wichern thought he should have al- 
lowed his great intentions to be perceived a little more 
plainly, so that he might have been better understood 
and not so much hated. Lepsius then rose, and re- 
sponded to this opinion of the clever master of the 
" reformatory," that it was the great characteristic of 
Bismarck as a statesman that he knew how to keep 
silence for years, and to pursue his aims quietly. A 


few days before this the great Chancelor, on the occa- 
sion of the celebration of victory at Kroll, had pro- 
posed his beautiful toast to " The Children of Berlin," 
who were a little rash in word, but had head and 
heart in the right place. 

The wave of enthusiasm rolled high at that time. 
Every Prussian heart beat full and quick for its King. 
Lepsius had always greatly extolled his direct and 
honest nature, and his clear intelligence, which could 
never be confused. He was delighted therefore at the 
Monarch's saying to him, " I myself proposed you," 
when he received the red order of the eagle of the 
second class in 1867, on the annual celebration of the 
founding of that order. 

The Court Chaplain Snethlage, who had been a 
faithful friend of the family, resigned his office in July, 
1867, and the diary contains the following touching 
anecdote : " On a certain day one of the men of his 
parish comes to Snethlage, assures him of his fidelity 
and reverence, and then says to him, ' But now I have 
a request to make of you : Preach no more ; it will not 
do any longer !' Thereupon the Court Chaplain held 
his peace for a short time, and then said, ' You are 
right, it will no longer do, and I will give up preach- 
ing.' " 

In September of the same year Lepsius went to 
Paris and London with his daughters, and in the 
autumn of 1869 he went to Egypt for the last time, 
and chiefly on account of the celebration of the open- 
ing of the Suez Canal. 


When the war between Germany and France broke 
out, in 1870, the oldest son, Richard, who was just ap- 
proaching his examination previous to matriculation, 
begged his parents to be allowed to take the field, and 
both, with ardent patriotism, accorded him permission. 
But he was rejected, as not yet sufficiently strong, and 
therefore, after passing the examination, he visited the 
arena of war but once, under the command of the 
army chaplain at whose disposal he had placed him- 
self. His mother meanwhile with restless zeal and the 
practical ability characteristic of her, was working 
for the wounded. To put herself in a prominent po- 
sition was repugnant to her, her only object was to be 
of real service to the hospital, and this she accom- 
plished with the aid of her daughters and others upon 
whom she was able to call. Many people brought 
their donations to her and a large part of the linen and 
clothing for the Berlin hospital, especially that for the 
chief depot, was got together by her, and sewed and 
made ready under her supervision. In doing this she 
was able to furnish remunerative work for so many 
poor women that she wrote in the diary : " That is the 
only good thing about a war, that one can employ so 
many needy women." She forgot that it is war which 
plunges so many women into poverty. 

Lepsius was always ready to give and to advise, 
and delighted in all that his wife and daughters accom- 
plished. The news from the seat of war was awaited 
with feverish excitement, and the successes of the vic- 
torious troops were celebrated with enthusiasm. The 


inmates of the Lepsius house received news at first 
hand from their many friends in high places. Amongst 
these was now Dr. Stephan, the head of the post-office 
department. The husband and wife also had a great 
liking for the minister Frommel ; a divine whose ser- 
mons Lepsius, who was no regular churchgoer, liked 
because he " did not preach dogmatically but from and 
of real life." These are Lepsius' own words, and he 
esteemed Frommel not only as a divine, but as a 
clever, well-informed and agreeable companion. 

During the following years life flowed on more 
quietly. One after the other the boys left school, and 
made substantial progress in their professions. The 
girls became mistresses of families and mothers, the 
garden ceased to be the scene of the merry games of 
childhood, the big house, deserted by many of its 
younger inhabitants, became too large for those who 
remained: but the old social life did not languish, and 
the father, with undiminished energy, was still busied 
in his work rooms. If a large number of friends was 
assembled in the Lepsius salons among them was 
usually the Minister of the American Republic. This 
was at first the grey haired historian Bancroft, after- 
wards the noble and accomplished poet, Bayard Tay- 
lor, who successfully translated Faust into English, 
and lastly Andrew White, the erudite and liberal- 
minded promoter of science in the new world. 

When Lepsius did not prefer to play chess, — often 
four-handed chess, or, still better, with three players 
and a dummy, — he devoted many evenings, as of old, 


to the " Herrenkränzchen," or social club of learned 
friends, in which he bore his part with pleasure, both 
giving and receiving. 

Lepsius belonged to the old or little " Griechheit " 
during the first years of his marriage and before he 
built his own house. Its members were : Lepsius, E. 
Curtius, Gerhard, Abeken, Brandis, Wiese, and other 
intimate friends. They read Greek classics, and so 
kept up their familiarity with them and with the world 
of ancient Hellas, but this was not the sole object of 
the " Griechheit," which was rather intended to enable 
friends of similar tastes and education to pass pleasant 
and inspiring evenings together, where they might be 
happy, unconstrained, and free from every sort of ped- 
antry. After the reading and the discussion which 
followed it, two chosen friends, the diplomat v. Schlö- 
zer and the zoologist Peters, were admitted as so-called 
■" commensals," and they all went to supper. The 
wife of the member at whose house the society met 
presided at table, and often the friends remained till a 
late hour over the merry meal, amidst the clinking of 
glasses, and pleasant conversation. 

With Abeken's late marriage in 1866, the little 
" Griechheit," so dear to all its members, came to an 
end, though its resurrection was celebrated some years 
afterwards. But in its new form the more critical and 
sharper spirit of the present learned society of Berlin 
prevailed, instead of the inoffensive cheerful tone, and 
the ideal humanistic thought of its predecessor. Mem- 
bers of the various Faculties, Mommsen, the philoso- 


pher Zeller, the mathematician Kronecker, H. Grimm, 
Wattenbach, the lawyer Bruns, the archaeologist Schöne, 
v. Sybel, and Waitz took part in it, and among them, 
as representatives of the older " Griechheit " were E. 
Curtius and Lepsius. The English ambassador, Lord 
Rüssel, the Greek ambassador, Rangabe, and George 
v. Bunsen were also members. 

The Wednesday or Literary Club had been 
founded by Bethmann-Hollweg and Dorner, who was 
also a friend of the Lepsiuses. The Berlin literati lived 
at wide distances apart, and this club was begun with 
the intention of enabling them to meet, and thus giving 
an opportunity to those who were conducting re- 
searches in the various domains of science to enrich 
each other intellectually, through conversation, and 
mutual communication of knowledge. 

Each member was bound in turn to deliver a dis- 
course upon some subject within his special department 
of science. Another member had to provide the enter- 
tainment, and thus the society met first at one house 
and then at another. Of the old members many are 
now dead ; those who survive will recollect with satis- 
faction the delightful evenings in which Lepsius partici- 
pated with such pleasure. 

To this society belonged Bethmann-Hollweg (the 
president), Dorner, Braun the botanist, E. Curtius, Dun- 
cker the historian, Beseler and Bruns the lawyers, 
Müllenhof the student of German law, language and 
history, Twesten the grey-haired and vigorous theo- 
logian, Friedrichs the archaeologist, and also, for several 


years, Wichern, and Bancroft the historian and Ameri- 
can ambassador. Of the younger members we may 
name the astronomer Förster and the geologist and 
geographer v. Richthofen, who had returned from 
China, bringing with him important scientific results. 
After Hermann had made himself at home as president 
of the Supreme Church Council in Berlin, Dorner im- 
mediately inducted him into the "Wednesday Club." 
The architect Adler also found admittance to this 
select circle, which was no less attractive to Lepsius 
than the • ■ Griechheit," which met on Friday. 

He scarcely went once a year to the Monday Club, 
although he was a member of this very old society, to 
which Nicolai had once belonged, It was composed 
of officials of high rank, and a few scholars. When 
there was any matter regarding which Lepsius wished 
to have a personal interview with one of the former, he 
was glad to go thither to find him and engage his at- 

The Archaeological and Geographical Societies he 
visited occasionally from scientific interest. 

If we did not have Lepsius' own assurance that 
nothing so refreshed him as the exhilarating intercourse 
with superior men, it would be hard to understand how, 
during the latter lustrums of his laborious life, he could 
conduct such numerous and profound researches to 
their conclusion, when we consider that he was quite 
frequently bidden to the evening tea-drinkings in the 
imperial palace, that even when chief librarian he was 
never to be counted among the negligent members of 


the Griechheit or of the Wednesday Club, and that in 
addition to this he had official and social duties. But 
his mind, cheered and invigorated, soon retrieved by 
the active labors of the morning those evening hours 
which had been spent at the " Clubs." 

One after another the children had all flown from 
the parental nest. A portion of the beautiful garden 
had to be sold, when Hildebrand Street was made to 
connect Thiergarten Street with the grand canal. The 
latter we used to know as a modest sheep pond, upon 
which the green duck-weed floated like mould, and 
across whose sandy shores a few isolated trees cast 
their shadow. Lepsius yielded to the demands of the 
growing city of Berlin, and the vigorous old man, ever 
ready for new enterprises, decided to sell the dear old 
house. In consequence of the great rise in its value it 
had become too expensive a dwelling for its few in- 
mates, especially as Lepsius had just at that time en- 
countered heavy pecuniary losses. But neither he nor 
his wife wished to leave the dear old home, and there- 
fore they caused it to be moved, after they had found 
a suitable lot of ground in Kleist Street on the borders 
of Charlottenburg, in the extreme western part of Ber- 
lin. There it was once more reared, and anyone who 
once knew the old house, and now seeks and finds the 
new, will feel, as all of us of that generation must, that 
he is under the power of a magic spell; for there 
before him stands the old Lepsius homestead, just as it 
was in Bendler Street. The interior too has undergone 
»o change, and it is not only that the new house re- 


sembles the old, but, in a certain sense, it is the same, 
for Lepsius did not sell the materials of which his first 
dwelling-place had been constructed, and after the 
new owner had torn down the scholar's home in Bend- 
ler Street, in order to erect a large apartment house on 
the site, Lepsius had it carried to Kleist Street, stone 
by stone, door by door, and window by window, and 
thus actually succeeded in living in the old house on 
the new site. Unluckily, the good fortune which had 
so long remained faithful to him did not follow him to 
the new home. He there saw beloved members of his 
family fall a prey to severe illness, and when he had 
enjoyed the new dwelling for a short time he was him- 
self attacked by the malignant disease which deprived 
us of our revered Master, and his children of their dear 

But, on the other hand, the old house had fully and 
completely fulfilled the destiny to which its builder had 
consecrated it in a beautiful speech at the laying of the 
corner-stone, August fifth, 1854. He then said, speak- 
ing of his children and his wife : " This house is not 
meant chiefly for us, but for our children. But for 
them we should never have thought of building a 
house. To them it will be the home of their parents, 
where their youth will develop, therefore it shall give 
them as large a portion of the fresh air of heaven and 
of nature's green, as it is possible to obtain in a large 
city. They will people every corner with their childish 
phantasies, and throughout life their recollections wilL 
cling to every tree and shrub." 


Thus it happened; and the wife too, in the old 
house, which then was new, took the very place which 
he awarded her in the same speech ; " But besides the 
children," he had said, " it is to the woman, to the mis- 
tress of the house, that the house belongs. There in- 
deed the man may often command or rebuke, but there 
the woman rules. The husband will live there, but the 
wife will work there, will govern and provide. Her 
heart, her eye and her mouth are the true homes of 
domestic peace, that beautiful jewel of a happy home. 
As was said of old, she is the ' house honor; ' * that is,, 
upon her rests the honor of the house, and to her is due 
the honor of the house. The proverb says ' Every 
wise woman buildeth her house.' That has been a true 
saying in this case, for many times has the whole plan 
passed through the sieve of her wisdom, and each time 
it has come out finer. Therefore it is just that we 
should lay the foundation stone exactly here, under the 
future room of the housewife, as the corner-stone of the 
house's honor and the house's peace." 

The children and friends were attracted to the new 
home in Kleist Street as they had been to the old, and 
it gave Lepsius special gratification to build a studio, as 
an annex to the family dwelling, for his son Reinhold,, 
who had meanwhile developed into a very promising 
portrait painter. In the evening of his days Lepsius saw 
his two eldest sons lead home as brides the daughters 
of two of his friends. 

Grandchild after grandchild grew up beside the 

* A German expression for housewife. — Trans. 


pair who were now waxing old. The wife had many 
things to attend to and to watch over, now here and 
now there; during the last lustrum, too, she had to 
care for her husband, whose vigorous body had been 
spared by serious illness until the slight apoplectic at- 
tack, already mentioned, impaired the use of his hand. 
In November, 1883, when we last visited our revered 
teacher and dear friend, we found him and his wife 
animated and cheerful in spite of the many terrible 
blows of destiny which they had encountered. His 
letters, which, after the apoplectic attack, had been 
written with a trembling hand, had long since exhibited 
almost the same firm strokes of the pen as in earlier 
days, and the writings which date from his latter years 
show that his mind had retained its old elasticity and 
depth. But soon after our farewell visit a disorder of 
the stomach began to undermine his vigorous health, 
and at the same time his mind was greatly disturbed 
by the severe illness of his beloved wife. 

At Easter, 1884, he felt a premonition of his ap- 
proaching end and faced it with that serenity of mind 
which had always distinguished him. At that time, 
when, without being really ill, he began to feel weak, 
he often spoke of his impending death. At Whitsun- 
tide he was forced to take to his bed, and he now 
steadfastly regarded his approaching departure, and 
quietly prepared for it. He caused his children to be 
summoned, and clearly and thoughtfully talked over 
with them everything in his and their material affairs 
which still required to be set in order. He made a 


new will, as it had become necessary to change that 
already in existence on account of che illness of the 
faithful companion of his life, which was such as to 
preclude any hope of recovery. After that he was a 
little better again. The physicians believed that the 
ulcer of the stomach might heal, on account of the un- 
usual vigor and soundness of the rest of the system : 
but he did not share their hopes, although he allowed 
his children to depart. 

But soon afterwards the physicians became con- 
vinced that the ulcer had developed into an incurable 
cancer of the stomach. Nevertheless he would not 
cease work, and his last efforts were devoted to his 

A polemic article against a Heidelberg colleague 
had already been sent to press, and had been put in 
type, in order that it might appear in the next number 
of the Journal of Egyptian Language and Archaeology. 
But before this occurred he felt the precursors of 
death, and recalled the controversial paper and had 
the type distributed, because he would not close his 
scientific career " with a discord." 

Then, while in bed, he himself corrected the last 
pages of his " Linear Measures of the Ancients," and 
with the same careful, indeed painful, accuracy which 
had distinguished his work in the days of health. He 
also directed to what persons this book should be sent. 
Like a true German scholar, Lepsius died in the midst 
of his labors. During the last three days he for the 
first time occasionally lost his clearness of thought, in 


consequence of bodily exhaustion, as for the five pre- 
vious weeks he had been able to take very little nour- 
ishment. His end was painless, and his failing eyes 
looked round upon his children, to whom it was 
granted to stand beside his deathbed. At the end he 
tried to speak to his eldest son, but the brothers and 
sisters could only distinguish the name " Richard." 

Lepsius drew his last breath on the tenth of July y 
at nine o'clock in the morning. With entire interest 
and consciousness he, together with all his children, 
had eight days before received the holy sacrament from 
the faithful pastor of the family, the chief Court Chap- 
lain, Kögel. The words spoken beside the coffin of 
the deceased by that excellent divine were a model of 
what a funeral discourse should be,. and proved that it 
had been given to Kögel to recognize fully those great 
qualities of mind and heart which had ennobled the 


The reader of this biography, who has followed 
with us the development and the subsequent life of 
Richard Lepsius, will think that he has learned in him 
to know a character whose estimable and tranquil 
nature needs no closer inspection. He will consider it 
a simple one, and therefore of little interest. For al- 
though he has followed the life of our hero step by 


step from his school days to the climax of fame, from 
childhood to an advanced old age, yet he has at no 
time observed in it any noticeable alteration. The 
reader has seen no great blows of destiny interrupt the 
earthly existence of our friend, until a short time before 
his death. Where obstacles have appeared in his path 
they have been seen .to sink of themselves, as if to be 
the more readily surmounted. For this man Fortune 
seemed to have changed her nature, fickleness to have 
been transformed to fidelity, and treachery to truth. 
But a perfectly happy life is like summer at the North 
Pole where there is no night ; always bright, and with- 
out timidity or terror. Yet, though strange, it is mo- 
notonous, and therefore the longer the day endures the 
more destitute is it of charm. 

The great natural talents, and the fullness of years 
granted to this man, were used by him wisely and pru- 
dently. He left school and university with the highest 
testimonials, and always fulfilled his duty with the 
same active zeal and conscientious earnestness, whether 
as a young scholar in Paris, Rome and London, as the 
prudent chief of a great expedition which was crowned 
with rare success, as the famous master and leader of a 
progressive science, as a teacher at the university, as 
the director of a museum, or as chief librarian. Every 
honor which it was possible for him to attain fell to his 
lot, and he conducted great undertakings to their con- 
clusion with circumspection, energy and discernment. 
From his youth up his superior character, as well as his 
personal appearance and bearing, secured him esteem 


and consideration, and where it was necessary for him 
to lead he commanded wisely, justly, vigorously and 

When he was six and thirty years old he found an 
admirable consort, who loved him with all the warmth 
of an ardent young heart, and never ceased to recog- 
nize his superiority with happy pride and to honor his 
great qualities. In his own home his wife ruled freely, 
and yet he was ever the absolute master. Four fine 
sons promised to maintain the honor of his famous 
name, and his beloved daughters endowed him with 
charming grandchildren. When he closed his eyes he 
might say that his work, and with it his fame, would 
endure as long as the science to which he had rendered 
such great services. He presented his complete works 
to his native town, Naumburg, that all which he had 
accomplished might be preserved at his birthplace in 
the Bibliotheca Lepsiana. 

It is true that the story of this life shows few shad- 
ows amid many lights, and he whom it presents to us 
underwent no marked change during his years of ma- 
turity. Nevertheless, he had not, from childhood up, 
been this unimpassioned and prudent master of himself, 
who knew how to control every quick impulse, that he 
might follow or abandon it as his searching mind de- 
cided on its worth or worthlessness. No ! for him, too, 
there must have been a time when an honest man 
could not have affirmed as he did to his wife in his six- 
tieth year, that he never had anything to repent, be- 
cause he always did that which he thought right. 


He was considered by many to be essentially a cold 
man of intellect, in whom feeling was overshadowed by 
the fully developed and carefully polished mind. This 
opinion sprang from his dispassionate prudence, the 
well-bred reserve by which he knew how to hide the 
weaker parts of his nature, the measured dignity with 
which he met strangers, and the quiet and thoughtful 
composure which came from his habit of always hold- 
ing a dominating position and directing his own affairs 
as well as those of others. To these were added the 
imposing dignity of his figure, the clear symmetrical 
outlines of his fine features, the natural grace of his 
movements, the finished tones of his speech, and es- 
pecially the earnest and utterly intolerant severity with 
which he opposed all falsehood and injustice wherever 
he encountered them. It was impossible to forget, too, 
with what energy, wherever he held command, he 
sought to reduce all that was disorderly to order, or 
with what independence he, when an attempt was 
made to depreciate his well won right to the director- 
ship of the Museum, * unhesitatingly declared that he 
would resign his professorship and leave Berlin if his 
well-founded claims were not accorded to him. 

Yet in spite of all this those who would deny him 
warmth of soul are wrong, indeed we can maintain this 
confidently, although even to his wife the qualities of 

* After Lepsius had made the Egyptian collection in Berlin what 
it now is, Humboldt, who was always most warmly interested in the 
aspirations of talented young men, attempted to substitute as direc- 
tor of the Museum, in the place of Lepsius, the young and highly 
gifted H. Brugsch, who was at that time an open antagonist of Lep- 


her husband's intellect were always more apparent than 
those of his heart. 

Let us hear the judgment which she pronounced 
on him; not during the first ten years of marriage, 
when, overflowing with love, she found in him some- 
thing new to admire every day, but after she had 
shared the pleasures and pains of life with him for 
nearly a quarter of a century, and had come to feel with 
bitterness that she would never succeed in leading him 
to the same conception of a strictly Christian and con- 
trite life which she had herself arrived at many years 

She had sought once more, on Christmas eve, 1869, 
to win him over to the charms of that pious faith in 
miracles which filled her own soul, and to lead him to 
that fountain " whence alone flowed strength and hap- 
piness for her." He answered her that she should not 
desire impossibilities, and should hold to that which 
was good in him, as he gladly contented himself with 
the many things that were excellent in her. There- 
upon she wrote, " Truth and uprightness are family 
virtues of the Lepsius race. They have usually serene 
and well disposed natures, noble minds, which despise 
everything that is trivial, and a strong sense of honor. 
Richard adds to these a disposition to mediate and. 
reconcile which makes him greatly beloved. Intelli- 
gence and clear sobriety of thought prevail among all 
the brothers and sisters. Richard has attained self- 
control and moderation amongst the manifold relations 
of life, and to this his prudence and his knowledge 


have added. Vain he is not ; in short an komme 
coni7ne il faut. At every moment he does what he 
thinks right, and therefore never has anything to repent 
of, (he once told me so himself.)" She then calls his 
character a well-regulated and symmetrical one, with a 
prevailing intellectual tendency, and, (we repeat), she 
exclaims after a married life of four and twenty years, 
and speaking with irritation, " If there were even any 
positive faults that I had to bear in Richard — but 
there are no faults, he has none, it is only community 
of faith which I miss." 

In this analysis of his character there are certainly 
many words of w r arm appreciation, and indeed his up- 
rightness was such that every judgment, every expres- 
sion of opinion which we hear him utter either publicly 
or in writing to his acquaintances, corresponds exactly 
to what is contained in confidential letters to his family, 
and the memoranda intended for himself alone. But 
his own wife sees in him only the well-meaning, fault- 
less and stainless man of intellect, and forgets that for 
him, too, there must have been a time when he had to 
strive against those impulses and emotions to which 
few men are strangers. Regarding this conflict he had 
written to her in former years a beautiful and perfectly 
unreserved letter. 

In this document, which gives us a key to the un- 
derstanding of both his intrinsic and his external quali- 
ties, he writes : " I recognize an impulsive disposition 
as an old fault in myself, and I think I have observed 
it also in you. Impulsiveness is often beautiful and 


charming, and often resembles, in a small way, that 
which, on a large scale, is among the most splendid 
products of human inspiration and noble self-sacrifice. 
But it does not go deep, is not enduring in action, dis- 
sipates itself for inferior aims, impedes the quiet and 
blessed development of those tender and precious 
germs of grace, resignation, cheerful peace, and ready- 
receptivity for whatever is good in all things and men, 
which slumber in every well-disposed nature. An im- 
pulsive temperament shows itself in every quick emo- 
tion which outruns kindness, in hasty judgment which 
so easily becomes prejudice, in a variable temper, upon 
which the blood should have no influence, in a ten- 
dency to. complaint, against oneself as well as against 
others, and in love of criticism of oneself and others. 
On this account the diaries which I have sometimes 
kept have only helped me on the wrong way. The 
best remedy for an impulsive nature, and one which 
never fails in the long run, is a determination strength- 
ened by religious conviction and faith to acknowledge 
to ourselves every disagreeable, disturbing, passionate 
impulse as wrong and unworthy of ourselves, and 
simply to put it aside, without regret and without con- 
sidering ourselves martyrs. Besides this, there is great 
benefit in a regard for external forms, and refined, 
gentle manners. These require for their outer clothing 
freedom from passion, delicate and careful considera- 
tion, and an upright endeavor to reach what is really 
unattainable, and please all at once, except the wicked. 
It is an enviable thing to please whether among cour- 


tiers or in a students' tavern, and yet to be neither a 
courtier nor rude. As you see, I say all these and a 
great many more things like them to myself, but do not 
follow them much in practice." 

This beautiful monition from a rigorously truthful 
man contains the confession that impulsiveness was an 
old fault of his own. But it includes at the same time 
a strong condemnation thereof, and a summons to 
battle against it. The remedy which he here declared 
to be efficacious he had tried en himself, and who 
knows with what grievous struggles he arrived at that 
dominion over the impulses of a strong nature, that re- 
straint of external forms, and the practice of those re- 
fined and well-bred manners, which already distin- 
guished him when he came to Rome, and which 
awakened the regard of Frau v. Bunsen (See page 98). 
It was certainly his honest and firm will and his manly 
strength, which led him to victory, but not these alone, 
for through his admonition we can hear the echo of 
Luther's " Nothing is done by our own might, .... 
may the Right Man aid us in the fight." His firm trust 
in God, his simple but genuine Christianity, free from 
every misinterpretation, self-torment and extravagance, 
supported him in that hard conflict. 

In the beginning of his twentieth year he had 
already set before himself his ideal of life, and this, sup- 
ported by the energy of his harmoniously constituted 
nature, he pursued to the end, first with struggle and 
conflict, and finally without any extraordinary effort, 
and as if of his own free will. 


In Paris, on the occasion of the unveiling of the 
Vendome column (Page 61) he wrote: "What can 
make a deeper impression than the strength of mind 
which shows itself in a composed bearing and an ex- 
pression of control, in contrast with the unbridled pas- 
sions of similar human minds." To win this " com- 
posed bearing," to acquire perfect command over 
unbridled impulses, was the aim of all his labor with 
himself. No, the character of a Lepsius did not come 
into the world as a thing completed, did not spring like 
Pallas Athene from the head of Zeus : it was won by 
hard, prolonged and repeated struggles. 

In this campaign against an adversary who, how- 
ever often he may be slain, continually wakens to new 
life, he accustomed himself to consider impulsiveness 
as an enemy, as a peace-breaker, as a disease of sound 
human nature. This latter, to his eyes, could only be 
truly great when ruled by calm self-control. Here we 
find an explanation of the words which he wrote to 
Bunsen when twenty-nine years old, and which must 
appear paradoxical and startling to the uninitiated. 
During his sojourn in England in 1839 his heart had 
been won by a lovely maiden, but his material circum- 
stances would not permit him to woo her. All this he 
confessed to his sympathetic patron in reply to his en- 
quiries, and added, " I hold every passion to be a de- 
fect in love, and why shall I, at the very outset, declare 
myself too weak to preserve the purity of true love, and 
keep it from cooling into passion ?" 

To all asceticism the healthy nature of this man, 


with his keen enjoyment of life, was a stranger, but for 
him the words " impulse " and " impulsiveness " had 
come to embody everything which transgresses the 
limits of an orderly and law-abiding life, everything 
which compels the rider, who should seek to govern 
his steed and guide it according to his will, to follow 
the animal instead wherever it may bear him. He 
at least knew how to compel the steed to submission. 
In England he seems to have shed warm heart's blood 
in his effort to obtain the mastery over himself. There, 
where he found friendship, love, and the fullest inspira- 
tion, we often see him dissatisfied with himself, and 
hear him complain of " faint-heartedness and every 
sort of bondage." (See page ioo). He chiefly means 
here by " bondage " his faulty control over the power- 
ful impulses of his nature, which he endeavors to sub- 
due. Here he confesses to Bunsen (See page 127), 
that he daily feels he has not yet passed beyond the 
period of education. 

His vivacious wife was astonished, when he was a 
mature man, to behold him rule over himself with en- 
tire and sovereign power, and guide the ship of his and 
her life. She was often forced to give expression to 
what she felt at this sight. " Richard," she says, 
" always the same, I always depressed or excited." 
On one occassion she compares herself with her. hus- 
band in a different way, and says : " It is very true that 
it is better and makes one's path easier through life, to 
be so passionless. One does not hope for too much, 
one is not so timid, one is not so much troubled, one 


does not have to struggle so much. But that is the 
way I am made, and at the bottom, I would not even 
care to be so self-poised ; if one has a harder struggle, 
one has also more ardor and heartfelt delight." 

But the nature of this man cannot be called so per- 
fectly self-poised, for he was as much beloved as a 
companion as he was esteemed as a scholar. He 
never showed in his manner the least trace of ped- 
antry, and, as she herself had previously acknowledged, 
(See page 247) he gave himself up entirely and thor- 
oughly to everything in which he engaged, whether it 
was social pleasures or the most serious affairs. 

The admirable method of life which he recom- 
mends as a means of subduing unruly impulses, distin- 
guished him to the end. It was his fortune to be 
equally a welcome guest whether at the imperial court 
or amidst the gay ringing of glasses in the friendly 
circle, and this was because he was able to take part in 
the sharpest exchange of opinions, and to experience 
the heartiest pleasure, without exceeding the limits of 
good breeding. He could play with his children and 
knew how to establish himself in their youthful souls. 
His student comrades remained the friends of his old 
age, and his travelling companions, over whom he had 
ruled as a leader, clung to him with affection until his 
or their death. Who ever showed greater fidelity or 
firmer friendship than he did towards those equals and 
colleagues who had come into close relations with him 
in scientific matters or in family intercourse ? They 
remained closely linked to him in the bonds of arTec- 


tion for decades. From his school-days on, he felt the 
need of friendship, and when a youth in Paris he gave 
expression to his thoughts on friendship, and wrote : 
" A circle of four friends bears the same relation to one 
of three that a four-legged table bears to a three- 
legged. Thus two friends form a line and three a sur- 
face." His choice of friends fell exclusively on men of 
intellectual prominence, but the " intellectual " in its 
modern, and especially in its Berlin, sense, was repug- 
nant to him. Manfully did he defend the interests of 
those whom he knew to be men of ability and of 
whose labors he had availed himself. After the de- 
signer Weidenbach had done him invaluable service in 
Egypt and in the preparation of the great work on 
monuments and the embellishment of the museum at 
Berlin, he was left without employment. Lepsius 
wished to procure him a permanent situation in the 
museum, and with good right, for his best years had 
been passed entirely in works ordered by the govern- 
ment, and these he had executed in the best possible 
manner and without regard to the more lucrative situ- 
ations which were offered him. Nevertheless the Min- 
ister, v. Raumer, coolly refused the petition for this very 
deserving artist, with the remark that Weidenbach 
might look for some other employment. Thereupon 
Lepsius replied to the high official, who was a man of 
strict piety but little human feeling, and whose ministry 
has long been recognized as pernicious, " So you think 
as Talleyrand did, who to the appeal of a suppliant 
41 Mais ilfaut pour taut que je vive" replied : "Je rCen 


vois pas la necessite." Lepsius knew how to procure 
the desired situation for his protege, in spite of Räumer^ 
and Weidenbach filled it admirably to the end. 

How is it conceivable the man lacked feeling who, 
during his whole lifetime, was the object of the warmest 
attachment from men of such tender feeling as Bunsen, 
the Grimms, Carl Ritter, Ernest Curtius, Max Müller, 
and many others. Who can venture to accuse of 
heartlessness the man who knew how to win the hearts 
of the best men and women, as he did ? On October 
17th, 1838, Frau v. Bunsen wrote to Abeken from 
Llanover : " Lepsius has won the first place in the 
heart of my mother, (a truly venerable old lady of 
great experience) and is praised and admired in differ- 
ent degrees by all." And from how many friends and 
relations who did not live in Berlin do we hear that it 
was a festival for them when they received a visit from 
this great man, who, with all his personal dignity, wa£ 
most cheerful and sympathetic. His own mother had 
died early (181 9), but his father had married her 
younger sister, and had found in her a worthy com- 
panion for himself, and the most faithful, loving and 
discreet care-taker and educator for his children that 
could have been imagined. After the death of the 
President of the Court the widow's share of his prop- 
erty amounted to so much that Frau Julie's future ap- 
peared to be assured. Nevertheless, her stepson. 
Richard, our Lepsius, with the cordial assent of his 
noble wife, immediately declared himself ready to re- 
nounce in her favor the not inconsiderable inheritance 


which would fall to his own share. The old lady did 
not accept this gift, but Richard appears to have been 
always the favorite among her stepsons. Do I need 
to recall the fatherly love and fidelity which he showed 
to the adopted danghter, w T hom he brought up with his 
own six children ? 

Before us lies a large quarto volume beautifully 
bound. It contains in forty-eight manuscript pages an 
excellent description of Thebes. This is entitled : " A 
cyclorama of Thebes, sent as a greeting from the dis- 
tance to my dear parents on their silver wedding, 
April, 1845." * The whole has the appearance of a 
" festal congratulation," such as children offer to their 
parents, and its beautiful penmanship evinces the most 
loving care. Yet the author and writer was no less a 
person than the celebrated leader of a great expedition 
and was then four and thirty years old. The conclu- 
sion of this " congratulation " runs thus : 

" We close to-day, with the week, both our sojourn 
and our labors in the Memnonia of ancient Thebes. 
They have kept us fully occupied for fourteen weeks. 
To-morrow, as a farewell to our Theban capital, I in- 
tend to celebrate a little festival, which I have privately 
arranged. It will be on the top of our hill, where this 
description was written. I am going to have a new 
tent raised there and have it decked with green pen- 
nons, and will share these pages with my travelling 
companions, as a little celebration of your wedding 

* The bride of the silver wedding was of course not the mother 
but the stepmother (and also aunt). of our Lepsius. (See page 294.) 


feast. They are accustomed to feel a friendly sym- 
pathy in all that nearly concerns or moves me, and 
therefore in you. Thus, in the immediate enjoyment 
and observation of this beautiful and remarkable scene, 
we will once more impress the principal points upon 
our memories before our departure. We will remember 
you and the large family circle, which, we hope, will 
have gathered from the south and the north to sur- 
round you in undisturbed happiness. But I shall think 
of you most vividly, since I cannot myself hand to you 
both this greeting from the Nile. But so much the 
more impatiently do I hope to follow it in a few 

These words were written by a warm-hearted man, 
and to them he appends the following significant 
verses : 

For science, though with effort strong we see 

Her seek a lofty goal, 
Though from its chains she wakes, and quick sets free, 

The darkened soul, 

Yet still has but a cold and borrowed light, 

Like moonshine pale, 
If the heart's breath of life be wanting quite, 

If warm love fail ! 

We have already repeatedly shown the beautiful 
and intimate relation which bound Lepsius to his 
father, and pointed out how zealously he ever tried to 
impart to his father everything that could please or in- 
terest him. He never forgot what he owed to the 


guide of his youth and childhood, — and it was not 
little. Above all others, the gift which he had received 
from his father was the strong love of truth and order 
by which he was distinguished. It was not only that 
this lightened his most difficult labors, but it rather made 
many of them possible. Hand in hand with this went 
the painstaking accuracy with which he worked. He 
never laid aside anything which was not entirely com- 
pleted and finished up to the last detail. Thence it 
comes, for example, that the second and third volumes 
of his chronology, announced in the preface, were 
never published. He had begun important prepara- 
tory works for them, but as these were not entirely fin- 
ished he only gave them to the press in detached 
monographs, which he could regard as completed. If, 
with the exception of the Decree of Canopus, and a 
portion of the seventeenth chapter of the Book of the 
Dead, we possess no continuous translation of hiero- 
glyphic texts by him, this circumstance is also to be 
explained by his dislike to letting anything leave his 
hand and go to press which contained flaws or was not 
perfectly completed and filled out. All that he trans- 
lated from ancient Egyptian into German gives the 
most sufficient evidence of his mastery of this branch 
also, but the critical philologist never prevailed upon 
himself to deliver a line which was only half known as 
one that was known. The fragment of his translation 
of the " Book of the Dead" which we have previously 
mentioned, and which has for its basis a critical com- 
parison of all the texts obtainable, shows much greater 


ability than the translation of the entire " Book of the 
Dead " which has recently been prematurely attempted 
by a later Egyptologist. 

It would be an error to call Lepsius a genius. He 
lacked the strong imagination, the winged creative 
power which achieves feats that soar beyond the con- 
ception of men of pure understanding, as well as the in- 
difference to the things of this world and the ardent tem- 
perament of a genius. But he was a man of talent of 
the first order, with wonderful intensity of intellect, and 
the rarest strength of will and capability for learning 
and work. Besides this he was not only, as his wife 
said, an " homme comme il fant" that is, a man fitted 
to appear in society, but also the model of a scholar, 
and what is more, of a man. It is true that warm feel- 
ing is necessary for the latter, and we remain true to 
our conviction that he possessed this. 

In his Parisian diary, which was intended for him- 
self alone, he tells of the fall of a platform on the occa- 
sion of a public festival. A boy, who was a stranger 
to him, was injured by it; he took him in his carriage, 
and subsequently wrote : " I held him afterwards for a 
long time in my arms, so that at least he should see 
something of the unveiling of the statue." On the 
25th of July, 1834, he wrote in the same journal : "A 
disagreeable and entirely unfounded slander will per- 
haps put an end to my Egyptian project," and imme- 
diately afterwards : " Heap coals of fire on the head of 
thy enemy." 

This is what we call " kind-hearted," this is chris- 


tian in the right sense of the word. He had absolute 
control of the property and never restricted the benefi- 
cence of his wife, half of whose life was devoted to the 
care of the poor and the like occupations. Even such 
sums as five hundred thalers he willingly gave away 
when it was a question of saving a poor family. Just 
as he visited me as a teacher, and gave me a portion 
of his precious time, when a protracted illness prevented 
my going out of the house, so did he seek out in the 
hospital a needy scholar as soon as he heard of his 
severe illness, and there extend to him the most cordial 
assistance, though the young man had never been per- 
sonally intimate with him, and had not been, like me, 
recommended to him by a Grimm. And how many 
such things, which never came to my knowledge, could 
be told of him ! 

Although those who cling to the letter of the faith 
would not approve his Christianity, yet his life was a. 
truly christian one. He ever made an open confes- 
sion of faith in God and Christ, he took, whenever he 
felt the need for it, the holy sacrament, he experienced 
in himself the blessings which Christianity had brought 
into the world, he recognized them in history, and he 
allowed his children to be educated by his pious wife 
without opposition. He declared to her, to Trumpp, 
and to others, that the highest duty of human beings 
was " to love God above all others, and one's neighbor 
as oneself." The new conquests of natural science 
had no power to shake his faith in God, although he 
followed them with interest after two of his sons had 


devoted themselves to such studies. When doubts 
arose in him he imposed upon his own acute mental 
powers the task of dissipating them, and an interesting 
composition was found among his papers, in which he 
attempts to subvert the two principal propositions in 
an eloquent masterpiece of Bois-Reymond's * which 
liad disturbed his mind. 

There has gone to the grave in Lepsius a true man, 
a noble and admirable human being, and, (if we except 
the last years of his life) a fortunate one ; a man who 
was among the greatest, most zealous, and most suc- 
cessful scholars of his time, and whose name and works 
will outlast the centuries. We will close this biography 
with the earnest and reverential words addressed to us 
by G. Maspero, the greatest of living French Egyp- 
tologists and the worthy successor of Mariette in the 
guardianship of all the monuments and excavations in 
Egypt, after he had received the intelligence of the de- 
parture of our Senior Master. 

"Lepsius" he says, "etait un des derniers survi- 
va?its de notre äge heroique, et il avait ete pendant 
longtemps iiotre maitre a tons. Je ne demande quhine 
chose pour mon compte : dest que plus tard au mo- 
ment oil Von en sera venu a dire pour moi ce que je 
dis pour lui, on puis se affirmer que fai fait pour la sci- 
ence la moitie de ce quHl a fait pour eile." 

* " On the Limits of Natural Knowledge." The conclusion to 
which Lepsius came was that the true limits of the knowledge of 
nature coincide with the limits of human capacity for knowledge in 
general. Beyond these limits he finds, as we know from other utter- 
ances, room for his living God. 




Göttingen, Dec. 8th~9th (1830), 
About two o'clock at night. 

I finally despatched the letter in which I wrote 
you of the mutterings of the revolution ; it broke out 
here at midday, with the striking of the twelve o'clock 
bell. There was a great outcry on the streets. 
" Revolution, Revolution !" they snouted ; we rushed 
to the market-place, which was already filled with 
citizens and students; they stormed the town-hall and 
occupied it; in a trice all the booths were torn down 
and the goods packed up in the greatest haste. I hur- 
ried to my friend Kreiss, the Frenchman, whose win- 
dows look directly on the market-place and the town- 
hall. It was a remarkable scene; above and below r 
here, there, and everywhere, glittered sabres and rifles; 
guards were posted on the steps which led to the col- 
onnade in front of the town-hall. Men in black, with 
long green, blue and red sashes, bustled about under 
the colonnade, and looked consequential ; one man 
was carrying away a pole with a big piece of sail-cloth ; 
they tore it from him and wanted to use it for a 
banner, and there was a great deal of laughing and 
joking. A number of details, to be seen and heard at 
every step, I cannot mention here. More guns ap- 


peared, sabres, broadswords, rapiers, muskets, rifles, 
pistols, clubs ; every man armed himself and they all 
rushed to the town-hall, to inscribe their names blindly 
on the lists. These were presented to the citizens and 
students by the chief revolutionists, especially a Dr. v. 
Rauschenblatt, who had quarrelled publicly with Pro- 
fessor Hugo, and had been forbidden to read with the 
students. No one knew what he wanted, or what the 
spectacle was for. Westphal, the superintendent of 
police, immediately resigned his office, to prevent acts 
of violence. As far as I could hear, the citizens par- 
ticularly demanded a better observance of the constitu- 
tion and its improvement. They wished that the 
authorities should render an account of the revenues, 
which they had neglected to do for a number of years, 
that the high taxes should be reduced, and the excise 
abolished. So said those who had anything at all to 
say. V. Rauschenblatt with his aids had long since 
been denounced by the burghers, and therefore sought 
to win over the students. He made fiery revolutionary 
speeches in the town-hall. " The rule of Liberalism," 
" Overthrow of Servilism throughout the land," and 
such like general phrases appealing to the ear, were 
constantly repeated, and it was plain to see that this 
eccentric man in thus stirring up the people either had 
no clear and rational grasp of the situation, or else was 
pursuing his own egotistical aims. After a while none 
but armed men were allowed to sign; all the shops 
where swords were sold were bought out, there was no 
one left without some sort of weapon. I should often 
have been forced to laugh at all this hocus-pocus and 
madness, if I had not been vexed at it, for so far I did 
not believe that it would lead to any serious conse- 

Then they marched in rank and file to v. Poten, 
the commandant of the city, to demand that the mili- 


tary, who had been ordered out for this evening, 
should not be admitted, and that a National Guard 
should be organized. This was conceded. The citi- 
zens remained at the town-hall, the students went to 
another spot, where v. Rauschenblatt divided them into 
bands, and assigned them the senior members of the 
societies for leaders. It was reported everywhere that 
Professor Langenbeck would place himself at their 
head, but there were still very few of them who knew 
where, how or why. All the students actually as- 
sembled in front of Langenbeck's house, and hurrahed 
for him, with a frightful clamor and clashing of swords. 
He shewed himself at the window, and begged them 
all to sign together. Meanwhile the gate had long 
been closed and guarded, the soldiers had been dis- 
missed, and were keeping quiet. When three hundred 
had signed, (and I among them, as the sole object was 
to keep peace and order,) v. Rauschenblatt came up 
with some of his adherents, and assured everybody that 
it was no longer necessary to sign : the only object was 
to lead the people astray, and to make use of them 
once more for the promotion of " Servilism." They 
did not need court counsellors at their head to lead 
them : every one who signed here was faithless to his 
previous signing at the town-hall, and deserted the true 
cause, and so on ; also no one must go at seven o'clock 
to the Rohns, (an inn and meeting-hall) whither the 
court counsellor Langenbeck had summoned us all. 
By this time it was already dark, all the streets were 
full of tumult. Heads were thick in the market-place. 
At the town-hall stood the musicians and played the 
Marseillaise, and then again God save the King, and 
then Liitzow's hunting song, and the barcarolle, and 
students' songs. The crowd continually hurrahed and 
shouted and howled. I passed once over the piazza 
before the town-hall, always with a broadsword of 


course, for without it one could not get through any- 
where. Rauschenblatt was standing above, and giving 
one vivat after another for freedom and equality. It 
was nearly seven o'clock. As I passed the demagogue 
I asked him " which way," for we had heard of some 
other place where the revolutionists were assembling. 
" Only not to the Rohns," he said hastily, " we will 
now march round the town." Then the music had to 
go in front, and the whole crowd behind it. Wherever 
they passed they cried, " Bring out the lights !" The 
market-place had been already illuminated for a long 
time. Meanwhile it snowed hard. Soldiers had sev- 
eral times come before the gates, but because these 
were locked, and Poten himself ordered them off, they 
went away again. Then it struck seven, and I, always 
a good citizen, hastened with my friends to the Rohns. 
At first there were few there; the music had drawn 
most of the people to the other side, but it filled up 
more and more. I could already hear how the men 
were dividing up into different parties, for it was easy 
to understand that the revolutionists would disturb us. 
Now came Langenbeck and summoned us to form a 
national guard to maintain peace and order as they 
had done in Leipsic. Then a couple of violent 
brawlers took sides against him, and would hear 
nothing of it; "We shall join the townspeople," they 
cried, " Here we are citizens ! We don't want to be 
nothing but academicians!" and soon. Langenbeck 
became undecided in his utterances, he did not wish to 
hear of any meddling with politics, they must let the 
townsmen do as they liked, not oppose them and not 
help them. But he had not presence of mind enough 
to give his opinions positively and strongly. Then 
Rauschenblatt pushed through the crowd, and Langen- 
beck became much confused. They got into a violent 
altercation, a fearful din was raised on all sides, we 


hurrahed for Langenbeck and the other men for 
Rauschenblatt, sabres and broadswords were drawn, so 
that the whole hall clattered ; an instantaneous reflec- 
tion of it would have made a splendid picture. I will 
not make you anxious by telling how I came forward 
and expressed my opinion, but it must be remembered 
that so far there had been no danger, as in the whole 
town there was no longer any one for the rioters to 
turn against, and therefore there was no bloody dis- 
turbance of the peace to fear. Some shots which were 
fired gave a little anxiety, but amounted to nothing. 
Langenbeck then got up on the table, but did not stay 
long on this platform and went away ; he certainly 
might have managed his affairs better. Rauschenblatt 
now spoke much more forcibly and coherently — at 
least it sounded so to the ear; at the same time he 
brandished his pistols and talked of traitors, and then 
he went away too. But a great many were still left. 
They had not seen Langenbeck go out ; he was loudly 
called for, for the men there were mostly his followers ; 
the few revolutionists who remained only interrupted 
at intervals the appropriate and forcible remarks of the 
tutor, Göschen, who had now climbed on to the table 
and continued to speak in the same strain as Langen- 
beck. He bade them resolve above all to preserve 
peace and order for this night. Meanwhile the seniors 
of the societies had already come to an agreement, had 
set a main watch, and then sent out sentinels and 
patrols. On the whole the temper of the students 
seemed to have moderated, and our party to have in- 
creased in comparison with the revolutionists, who had 
at first been much more numerous. Then we went to 
Göschen's (that is, some acquaintances and I) and eat 
our supper. Afterwards we went again to Langenbeck, 
who had meanwhile been to the main watch with the 
tutor, to take him again to the Rohns, as had been de- 


cided on. But this was not done, and we now set a 
watch in Langenbeck's auditorium which is at the side 
of his house, stationed a guard of twelve men round 
nis house, and took turns in patrolling through the 
town. Who goes there ? Patrol or sentinel of the 
night watch, or this or that, was perpetually resounding 
through the streets; a drunken citizen was escorted 
home, we visited guards and gates, in short until two 
o'clock I was constantly on my legs, and now I am 
writing this to you immediately. But what I wish is 
that you should have no anxiety about me, for indeed 
I am not wanting in prudence ; besides the whole affair 
up to now has not taken on any dangerous character, 
because there is no object for it. To-morrow, or rather 
early to-day, about nine o'clock we are to be at the 
Rohns again. 

Sunday, Midday, 
About one o'clock. 

Langenbeck's guard has long been removed. The 
societies join the citizens under the seniors and Rau- 
schenblatt. Langenbeck had still a large party at the 
Rohns this morning at nine o'clock; he called dele- 
gates from the societies into his house, where several 
professors were assembled. The seniors who came, 
(there were but few of them) seemed to have become 
more moderate. Then Langenbeck went once more 
to the town-hall. There were assembled in the senate 
chamber the deputies of the town and other citizens 
and students, who now played quite a role. We guarded 
the door; Rauschenblatt, Dr. Schuster, Eyting and 
other revolutionists were inside; Langenbeck wished 


to come to an understanding with them, and stayed in 
there a long time, there was a very violent dispute, but 
he came out again without having settled anything, 
and he said himself that he must now withdraw, and 
that his party had dissolved. I, and most of my 
friends except Gravenhorst, will join nobody, not even 
the societies. — At the same time a general revolution 
has broken out all over Hanover. If it becomes more 
serious here I will perhaps leave the town, but so far 
there has been no danger; and perhaps the whole 
revolution will pass over quietly. I will write to you 
soon again, until then 

Your Richard. 

Among the letters to his father is the certificate 
signed by General von dem Busche, which permitted 
Lepsius to remain longer in Göttingen. For many 
students this tempest in a tea-pot was to have very dis- 
agreeable consequences, for a rescript from the King 
dated January nth, 1831, commanded all Hanoverian 
subjects studying in Göttingen to leave the town im- 
mediately. Those who should remain in spite of this 
were deprived of all right to any situation in the public 
service of the King. The foreigners among the stu- 
dents were also expelled, and could only obtain per- 
mission for a longer stay by means of special interces- 
sions. " Above all " the lectures were stopped until 

3 o8 


Lepsius' Report to the Berlin Royal Academy 
of Sciences on the Commencement of his 
Egyptological Studies. • 

Somewhat more than a year and a half ago I 
began the study of Egyptian antiquity by the path 
which had been substantially opened to modern science, 
and firmly trodden by her, since Champollion's impor- 
tant discoveries regarding phonetic hieroglyphs. I 
did so with a generally diffused doubt as to the sound- 
ness of the new doctrine which had been almost ex- 
clusively founded and embraced by a French scholar. 
The system of Champollion was a purely empirical 
one, which had not yet been reduced to order. It 
affirmed more than it proved, and appealed to me less 
at the beginning, in proportion as I had become accus- 
tomed in those of my previous studies which related 
especially to philology, to seek organic coherence in 
science, and only to admit as a foundation therefor 
reasons of intrinsic worth. I began with the Precis 
hieroglyphique, as the most comprehensive statement of 
the new discovery, and found on every side assertions 
which seemed to me undemonstrable, and evidence 
which seemed to me iuiperfect. I reserved to myself 
some doubts as to the reading of the names Ptolemy 
and Berenice, which would need to be solved to satisfy 
reasonable criticism. But in the phonetic hieroglyphs 
the substitution of the vowels seemed to me too arbi- 
trary, and the mixing of the phonetic with the figurative 


and symbolical hieroglyphs, to represent one and the 
same word, seemed quite inadmissable. In my earlier 
palaeographic researches amongst occidental and orien- 
tal writings I had always found the strictest economy 
and a surprising significance in the original signs for 
the sounds, united with an accuracy which has hitherto 
been far too little regarded. But here I had to accus- 
tom myself to a superfluity, I might say a prodigality, 
of signs, which yet only imperfectly attained their 
object, and therefore seemed so much the more to be 
chosen arbitrarily and multiplied in a chaotic manner. 

Nevertheless, I did not allow myself to be dis- 
couraged from proceeding further, because at the same 
time I saw plainly that there were many things which 
were incontestably correct, and I also believed that I 
had found a coherence in the system, and several iso- 
lated proofs of it, which had escaped the discoverer 
himself. Thence I began to believe that it was a ques- 
tion of method, and that it was only necessary to sep- 
arate the certain from the uncertain in order to make 
clear the true condition of affairs, and the real extent 
of what had so far been achieved on this field. Here 
other workers had preceded me, some of whom sided 
with and some against Champollion. More especially 
.since the French Expedition an immense literature 
has begun to investigate, describe, and profit by every 
aspect of Old and New Egypt. By making myself as 
thoroughly as possible acquainted with this, I endeav- 
ored to keep myself as free as possible from a one-sided 
apprehension and criticism of hieroglyphics, and of 
Egyptian learning in general, so far as it rests upon 
native authorities. 

A problem which was to be solved above all others 
concerned the Coptic language. Even the purely his- 
torical researches in the " Recherches sur la langue et 
Ja literature de VEgypte" by Etienne Quatremere had 



not been able to satisfy me regarding the identity of 
this tongue with the ancient Egyptian, or, at least, its 
direct descent therefrom. But on a closer acquaint- 
ance with this language, and its application on the 
hieroglyphic and demotic monuments, every doubt must 
be dispelled as to its being the sole key to the ancient 
language of the Egyptians, and the only one which 
could lead to the end in view. I have since applied 
myself chiefly to the study of the Coptic language,, to 
which I also felt myself especially attracted by my pre- 
vious linguistic studies. Within a few days there have 
arrived in Paris the last sheets of a Coptic lexicon which 
has been prepared from the most copious sources by 
Amadeo Peyron, and shows extensive learning. From 
the first I have directed my labors on the Coptic tongue 
to the end of preparing a grammar of that language, 
especially intended to lighten the study of hiero- 
glyphics, and in accordance with the philological sci- 
ence of the present day. 

In order to give you, most highly esteemed Herr 
General Secretary, a comprehensive idea of the course 
of my studies up to the present time in the department 
in question, I must further mention two circumstances, 
which were especially favorable to me. One was my 
sojourn in Paris, which is the place altogether best 
adapted to obtaining an initiation into Egyptian an- 
tiquity. The first broad foundation for this science was 
laid on the part of the French in the " Descriptio?i de 
PEgypte." A French scholar first procured access to 
the native monuments of Egypt, and for a number of 
years he was the center of Egyptian studies on account 
of his admirable talent, which seemed made for the de- 
ciphering of the Egyptian monuments. I need not say 
that for these reasons there can be no lack in Paris of 
the most perfect aids to study, as regards both litera- 
ture and monuments. But that to which I attribute 


yet greater weight is that there is always a large num- 
ber of men assembled there who take the most lively 
and direct interest in the discoveries of their country- 
man, and are in a position to give thorough informa- 
tion, generally directed by their own opinions, on all 
the different parts and details. They were frequently 
more instructive to me through their conversation than 
any books could have been. I often felt there the 
great value of the viva voce correction of many unavoid- 
able errors in the judgment of persons, objects and 
facts. These are of far greater importance in so young 
a science than in one which has been long founded. 
As a second favorable circumstance I would mention my 
early acquaintance with a young, learned and talented 
man, Francois Salvolini. For ten years he educated 
himself exclusively for the study of hieroglyphics under 
the personal direction of Champollion, he took copies 
of the most important drawings and manuscript works 
of his teacher, part of which are still inaccessible to the 
public, and with the greatest liberality he opened to 
me his important collections, and allowed me the freest 
use of them. Under the auspices of the Sardinian 
government he is occupying himself with a comprehen- 
sive work on the Rosetta inscriptions, specimens of 
which he communicated to me. He also gave me a 
verbal explanation of the details. I thus became ac- 
quainted in the most rapid and thorough manner with 
the real value of the system of Champollion, and the 
development which it has thus far attained. It is true 
that the principal doubts which I had entertained were 
not entirely removed, but I believed in the difficulties 
which still remained to see, not a refutation of the sys- 
tem, but only a want of completeness. Especially I 
became aware that many difficulties might be removed 
when some other linguistic standpoint than that pre- 
viously employed should be adopted. 


At the same time it seemed to me of the greatest 
importance to come to a positive opinion as to the re- 
lation of the Egyptian language to the other civilized 
languages of the ancient world, and to my great satis- 
faction I have now arrived at the conviction that the 
primitive Egyptian language is> by no means so far re- 
moved from the Semitic and Indo-Germanic as, on a 
superficial examination, it has hitherto been almost uni- 
versally considered. I believe that I shall not in all 
subsequent investigations into Egyptian antiquity allow 
myself to lose sight of this comparative point of view, 
since the great interest which the history of Egyptian 
civilization offers, as one of the most ancient of which 
we have a general historical knowledge, is without 
doubt greatly increased when we learn to know it also 
in its original relation to other civilizations. It also 
seems to me a worthy and useful task to draw the 
Egyptian people within the circle of those great groups 
of nations, whose most ancient history has in modern 
times acquired an altogether different aspect by means 
of the comparison of languages. I propose to preface 
my Coptic grammar with a special chapter on the rela- 
tion of the Egyptian to the Semitic and Indo-Germanic 
primitive languages. I most respectfully beg you, Herr 
General Secretary, to present to the most favorable 
consideration of the very worshipful Academy two 
treatises in which I have attempted to prove the lin- 
guistic relationship of these two families of language. 
These papers treat of distinct points which would find 
no place in the Coptic Grammar. The first relates to 
the numerical words, the second to the arrangement of 
the alphabet, among the different nations. 

Thus I have chiefly made use of my sojourn in 
Paris to acquire a general knowledge of Egyptian 
science, and am thereby placed in a position to adopt 
a decided course for the future according to the needs 


which cccm to me most urgent, and to those abilities 
of my own which I believe to have been best developed 
by my previous studies. Therefore it now becomes a 
matter of special importance, in order to arrive at the 
best possible conclusions of my own, to procure correct 
copies of the numerous Egyptian monuments scattered 
about through the various French museums, and es- 
pecially in Italy. 

To undertake a journey to Italy for this purpose 
must be all the more desirable for me since a corres- 
ponding member of the Academy, whose name will 
always be mentioned beside that of Champollion as 
one of the most distinguished promoters of Egyptian 
science, H. P. Rosellini of Pisa, has offered, with the 
most noble disinterestedness, to reveal to me the rich 
treasures which he has brought back from Egypt, and, 
under his own invaluable guidance, to place them at 
my service. 

Since I could not have been able to undertake this 
journey on my own resources, I have to thank the 
resolves of the most worshipful Academy alone, if I 
can directly pursue the object which is the aim of my 
scientific career. I must appreciate the more pro- 
foundly the special encouragement which I have thus 
received as up to the present time I have been able to 
present no sort of security on my part to the most wor- 
shipful Academy. For this reason I will make all the 
more conscientious use of the appropriation granted me. 
I will from time to time lay before the most worshipful 
Academy an account of the expenditure thereof, and 
seek to prove myself worthy of the confidence which 
has been shown me by the greatest zeal in the promo- 
tion of this most fruitful science, which has been so 
little cultivated in our own country. 

With the most distinguished esteem and respect. 
Richard Lepsius. 



Extract from the Report addressed to the 
Ministry, on the Acquisitions and Results 
of the Expedition to Egypt under R. Lep- 


Berlin, March 12, 1846. 

The antiquarian Expedition to Egypt, Nubia and 
the Peninsula of Sinai, ordered in the year 1842 by his 
Majesty, our most gracious and illustrious King Fred- 
erick William IV., and committed to my leadership, is 

My reports, transmitted to your Excellency from 
time to time, will have convinced you that it has been 
executed entirely in accordance with the plans advised 
by the Royal Academy of Sciences, most graciously 
approved by his Majesty, and submitted to your Ex- 
cellency before departure. You will also observe that 
the annual sum of money appropriated at the beginning 
has not been exceeded, and that it has also been 
made to cover the important excavations, transporta- 
tions and purchases, for which no special appropriation 
had been made. The journey of two years has, how- 
ever, extended itself to three and a half. My com- 
panions were not able to return before the end of last 
year, and I myself not till the 27th of January of this 
year ; a possibility which had been already foreseen in 
the advice of the Royal Academy. 

With regard to the material welfare of its members 



the Expedition may be called in every way a very 
fortunate one, and especially favored by Providence. 
The members were eight in number, with the ad- 
dition of three others who joined as volunteers, and all 
returned in good condition to European soil. The 
painter Frey alone could not support the climate,, 
and on that account was obliged to return from 
Lower Egypt to Europe, where he has since recov- 
ered. As a contrast to this, the company of Pro- 
fessor Ehrenberg lost nine members, in spite of the 
greatest care. They were, however, under much more 
unfavorable conditions, and through his advice we 
profited by their experiences. It was still worse with 
the English under Clapperton. The French Tuscan 
expedition also lost both its leaders, besides many other 
members, in consequence of the journey. As we did 
not, like the expeditions mentioned, have a physician 
with us, we were obliged to redouble our direct atten- 
tion to ourselves, and I ascribe the fortunate result, 
next to the protection of Providence, chiefly to the ex- 
cellent conduct, mutual helpfulness and strict regard 
for order of all the members. There was but one ex- 
ception, the moulder Franke, whom I was forced to 
dismiss on account of unseemly disturbances of this 
order. This harmony and admirable disposition of the 
members also greatly facilitated the management for 
me, and I cannot but praise this spirit especially in our 
architect, Herr Erbkam, who stood by me on every 
occasion as a true and helpful friend. 

As far as the scientific results are concerned, I must 
first observe that scarcely any other expedition had 
been undertaken under such favorable circumstances. 
Amongst these circumstances I reckon chiefly the 
definiteness of the tasks which were set before us, and 
which we were able on this account to pursue with 
perfect system. The expedition most immediately 


comparable with ours was Champoilion's, but that was 
more a voyage of discovery, and necessarily suffered 
from the very deficiencies which we were easily able to 
supply. The advantages which he had as founder of 
the science and from his incomparable ability as a stu- 
dent of monuments, were for us more than counterbal- 
anced by the firmer and broader foundations of the 
science, the last results of which are now presented to 
ns in Bunsen's remarkable work on history. Added to 
this was our greater previous knowledge of the interest- 
ing localities which we had to investigate. From the 
very beginning of the journey we could within wide 
limits strive for completeness, without suffering from any 
want of new, unexpected and most highly important 
discoveries. Especially had Champollion left behind 
to us, practically uncommenced, the investigation of the 
oldest Egyptian history, that is, the epoch of the first 
Pharaonic kingdom from about 3000 to 1700 years 
before Christ, which extends the history of the world 
for almost 1500 years. He had only ascended the 
valley of the Nile as far as the second cataract, beyond 
which there still exist a great multitude of old Egyptian 
monuments of all kinds, as yet entirely uninvestigated. 
There the whole of Ethiopian antiquity, which cannot 
be separated from the Egyptian, must find its interpre- 
tation and, if I do not deceive myself, has done so 
through us. 

Thence it follows that our results are by far the 
most important in chronology and history. The pyra- 
mid fields of Memphis, whose importance had not been 
recognized by Champollion, and which had therefore 
scarcely been touched by him, have placed the Egyp- 
tian civilization of those remote ages before us, in four 
hundred large pictures. The representation which 
they furnish must for all future time be regarded with 
the highest interest and considered the beginning of in- 


vestigable human history. Those earliest dynasties of 
the Egyptian rulers now offer us more than a barren 
succession of empty, unknown or doubtful names. 
They have not only been raised beyond all reasonable 
doubt and been critically arranged in order and accord- 
ing to the correct periods of time, but through the con- 
templation of the political, civil and artistic popular life 
which bloomed under their reigns, they have pre- 
served an intellectual and often very individual histori- 
cal reality. 

This is the greatest success of our journey and must 
always be a convincing proof of the great and lasting 
service rendered to science by our expedition and its 
illustrious promoter. I pass over for the present the 
details of the evidence, which can only be rightly esti- 
mated by those co-workers on this field who shall make 
later and more extensive investigations. But I will 
mention that in Middle Egypt up to Thebes we found 
eight separate places of sepulchre, belonging to the 
Old Kingdom, which the French Tuscan expedition 
had passed by without suspicion. Of some of these we 
were the discoverers, and others we were the first to 
recognize as belonging to that period, and to excavate. 
We could not fail, also, to make a great number of 
more or less substantial restorations, corrections and 
additions to the history of the most flourishing period 
of the New Empire, which was peculiarly the prime of 
Thebes, as well as to that of the following dynasties. 
Even those Ptolemies who were apparently completely 
known in the light of Grecian history, have appeared 
in a new aspect in their Egyptian representations 
and inscriptions, and indeed have been recruited by 
some individuals scarcely mentioned by the Greeks and 
whose existence has hitherto been considered doubtful. 
Finally the Roman emperors, in their character of 
Egyptian rulers, have also appeared to us on the Egyp- 


tian monuments in greater and almost perfect com- 
pleteness. They have been carried down, from Cara- 
calla, (who had till now been recognized as the last 
whose name was written in hieroglyphics,) through two 
later emperors to Decius. Thus the whole extent of 
Egyptian monumental history has been increased at 
the latter end also by a number of years. 

Egyptian philology, too, has made no insignificant 
advances during the journey. The lexicon has been 
increased by the addition of some hundred signs or 
groups, and the grammar has received manifold correc- 
tions. Besides this a wealth of material has been 
gathered, especially by means of the numerous paper 
impressions of the most important inscriptions, the 
gradual interpretation of which must lead to substantial 
progress in the science. According to the great age 
established for the earliest written monuments the his- 
tory of the Egyptian language now embraces a period 
of nearly five and a half thousand years, and thus ac- 
quires an entirely new significance in relation to the 
universal history of human language and writing. In 
matters of detail one of the most important discoveries 
on this field was two bi-lingual decrees, written in hiero- 
glyphics and demotic, which were discovered in Philae. 
One of these repeats the inscription of Rosetta, and 
there is promise of important results from a comparison 
between them. The news of this seemed so important 
to the French that they resolved on sending out the 
famous scholar Ampere, with an artist, expressly to 
copy this one monument. I first became aware of 
their intention through the publication and philological 
exploration of that inscription, now just appearing in 

According to my opinion Egyptian mythology, in 
spite of conntless works upon the subject, has hitherto 
been without any firm foundation. I had almost aban- 


3 l 9 

doned the hope that our expedition would achieve any 
actual advance for this science, when upon the return 
journey I discovered in the Theban temples a series of 
monuments which threw so much unexpected light 
upon its essential nature and historical phases, that I 
have come to the conclusion that upon this basis Egyp- 
tian mythology may for the first time be presented ac- 
cording to its true import and in its historical develop- 

The history of art has never been worked out from 
the present standpoint of Egyptology. To accomplish 
this was necessarily one of the chief objects of our ex- 
pedition and the advanced chronological knowledge of 
the monuments conduced greatly to progress in this di- 
rection. For the first time we have been able to trace 
the various divisions of the history of art in the Old 
Egyptian Empire, previous to the invasion of the 
" Hyksos," and thus to extend it, as well as Egyptian 
history in general, for about thirteen centuries upwards 
and for some decades downwards. We were also 
obliged to regard the history of art almost exclusively 
in the selection of our collection of monuments, of 
which I shall speak again hereafter. Amongst the 
different branches of Egyptian art, architecture, which 
had been entirely neglected by Champollion and Ro- 
sellini, was especially well handled by our skillful and 
industrious architect Erbkam. From him it received 
the treatment befitting the important position of this 
special branch, in which the artistic element of gran- 
deur, bestowed upon the Egyptians above all other 
nations, could be and was most highly developed. 
The rendering of the sculpture and painting fell to the 
other artists who accompanied us. They soon learned 
to reproduce with praiseworthy skill the peculiar Egyp- 
tian style, which in spite of all the childish constraint 
that characterizes Egyptian art, yet contains an unmis- 


takable and finely perfected ideal element. If the 
Grecian genius had not received art from the Egyp- 
tians as a child so severely, chastely and carefully 
reared, it could never have given to it such a positive 
character of blooming freedom. The chief task of the 
history of Egyptian art is to show wherein consisted 
this culture of art, which no ancient Asiatic nation 
shares with the Egyptian. I will adduce as one of the 
most important details belonging here, that we have 
found three separate canons of the proportions of the 
human figure, in numerous examples, upon uncom- 
pleted monuments; one for the old Pharaonic king- 
dom, another for the New Empire since the eighteenth 
dynasty, and a third which first came into general use 
shortly before the time of the Ptolemies. This latter 
involved an entire change of the principle of distribu- 
tion, and remained in force under the Roman em- 
perors to the end. These discoveries are also of 
decided importance in judging of the Greek canon. 

Next to the history of art, however, a great part of 
our time and attention was claimed by Egyptian arch- 
aeology in its widest sense. This was a field which 
had already been worked with success and industry, 
especially by Wilkinson and Rosellini. It contains an 
inexhaustible wealth of detached monuments of com- 
mon life, and representations thereof of all kinds, far 
exceeding in abundance all other remains of antiquity. 
And on this account this branch of study needed much 
more a vigorous prosecution of its aims and elevation 
of its standard, than a farther accumulation of details. 
Nevertheless these are continually coming in from all 
sides and have been collected by ourselves in great 
quantity as material. 

Finally, geography and chorography, to which 
travellers are always expected to make additions, de- 
mand special attention. In Fayoum we have for the 


first time thoroughly investigated the Labyrinth. It 
lies beside Lake Moeris, which was discovered by 
Linant, but is now dry. We have been able to assign 
the Labyrinth its place in history through the discovery 
of the founder's name. Our description of the ruined 
cities and monuments of antiquity in the land of the 
Nile, up to Senaar, will be more complete and exact 
than any previously given. So also will be our account 
of the rarely travelled dependencies of the dominion of 
the Pharaohs, such as the Ethiopian countries, the east- 
ern mountains between the Nile and the Red Sea, and 
the colonies in the copper region of Mafkat (of the Pe- 
ninsula of Sinai.) Only the oases of the western desert 
we have unfortunately been obliged to leave unex- 
plored. In more modern geography, which must 
always accompany and correct the ancient, I have de- 
voted special care to obtaining the Arabian names ac- 
curately, in order to counteract as far as possible, at 
least upon the region traversed by us, the intolerable 
confusion of designations. I have prepared upon the 
way accurate geographical maps of various parts of the 
eastern mountains of Egypt and the Arabian copper 
region. Respecting the border lands of Mahommed 
Ali's dominion, towards Abyssinia, I have collected 
and recorded graphically important geographical in- 
formation from particularly well-informed people of 
that region. On the Peninsula of Sinai I have not 
only for the first time investigated more exactly the 
ancient Egyptian copper mines, the working of which, 
according to the pictures on the rocks and inscriptions, 
preserved at Wadi-Magara, goes back to the time of 
Cheops, about 3000 years before Christ, but I have 
also traced out the route of the Israelites to Sinai. In 
doing so I have come to the conclusion, which I have 
sought to prove in a preliminary report to his Majesty, 
that a tradition of comparatively late origin has 


wrongly designated the mountain which the monks 
call Gebel Müsa as the Sinai of the Bible, and that 
Horeb or Sinai, the Mount of God, corresponds rather, 
to the present Serbäl, which lies some days' journey to 
the north of Gebel Müsa. A noteworthy contribution 
has been made to the history of the physical conditions 
of the Nile valley through the discovery of the nilo- 
meter of Semneh in the region of the Nubian cataracts. 
From this it is apparent that about 4000 years ago, 
under the rule of Amenemha-Moeris, the Nile at that 
place rose in average years twenty-two feet higher than 
now, while in Egypt at about that time it stood at 
least ten to fifteen feet lower, so that the Nile at the in- 
tervening cataracts fell thirty-five feet farther than at 
present. This gradual leveling of the bed of the 
stream has had the most decisive influence on the cul- 
tivation of the valley, and the history of its whole pop- 
ulation, since the shore of the Nubian country lying 
along the stream was made inaccessible to the natural 
inundation by this great sinking of the water, and 
thence became dry and unfruitful. 

Besides all our acquisitions in the ancient Egyptian 
language we have made some not unimportant gains for 
the science of language in general. In the upper 
countries of the Nile I have obtained three African 
languages, the grammar and lexicon of which I have 
made out and noted down from the communications of 
the natives, with sufficient completeness to present a 
clear idea of them. They are : 1 . the Congära language, 
a negro language of the interior, spoken in Darfur and 
the adjoining countries: 2. the Nuba language, which 
is spoken in two dialects in a portion of the valley of 
the Nubian Nile, and in the neighboring districts to the 
southwest. This appears, moreover, to be of primitive 
African origin. It has never been written, and I have 
collected for the first time a considerable quantity of 


Nubian manuscript literature, by getting a Nubian sheik, 
who was entire master of the Arabian language and 
writing, to translate from Arabian into Nubian, the 
fables of Lokman, the Gospel of St. Mark, and a portion 
of the Thousand and One Nights. I also had him write 
down and translate into Arabian about twenty Nubian 
songs, some in rhyme, and some only rythmical. In 
doing this he displayed a wonderful talent for the cor- 
rect comprehension of linguistic relations. 3. The 
Bega language of the race of the Bishareen who are 
widely scattered between the Red Sea and the Nubian 
Nile. This appears to be a most important branch of 
the original Asiatic-Caucasian family of languages, and 
deserves our attention so much the more since it seems 
that it can be historically proved to be the present 
form of the ancient Egyptian language of Meroe. I 
have also found in those countries, and in the pyramids 
of Meroe, a great number of old Ethiopian inscriptions, 
which are recorded in an alphabetical writing until now 
entirely unknown. Subsequent inscriptions are in an 
alphabet formed after the Greek, and they can probably 
both be deciphered by the aid of the Bega language. 
Finally we have also made the completest possible col- 
lection of many hundreds of paper impressions from 
Grecian inscriptions. These are now of great value as 
a contribution to the knowledge of Grecian-Egyptian 
antiquity, which has been industriously cultivated on 
several sides. We have also made another collection 
of the numerous so-called " Inscriptions of Sinai " 
which were cut into the rocks by a Christian popula- 
tion who lived on the Peninsula of Sinai in the first 
centuries of our era. These have not yet been entirely 

We have only been able to give occasional attention 
to subjects pertaining to natural science. Yet I have 
not neglected to collect specimens of stone and soil 


from all important localities, especially during trips 
into the remote mountain regions. A chemical investi- 
gation and comparison of the specimens of Nile mud 
collected from different spots and under different con- 
ditions will perhaps be of interest. We have visited 
the old alabaster quarry of El Bosra, opposite Sioot, 
which has recently been discovered by the Bedouins 
and is now worked by Selim Pasha. We found there 
an inscription on the rock dating from the beginning of 
the eighteenth dynasty. We have also visited the 
quarries of granite and of " breccia verde " at Ham- 
marnat, which have been in use since the most ancient 
times, as well as the porphyry and granite quarries on 
Gebel Duchän (Mons Claudianus, Mons Porphyrites,) 
in the eastern mountains of Egypt, (see page 160) 
which were celebrated in Roman times. We have 
brought back specimens of rock from them all. The 
most valuable blocks of " breccia verde" of every size, 
lie directly on one of the finest and most convenient 
desert highways, two days journey from the Nile, and 
would be excellently adapted to removal and exporta- 
tion. On account of our antiquarian aims we were es- 
pecially interested in the opportunity of becoming ac- 
quainted with the present world of animals and plants 
in the southern regions of Nubia, which conspicuously 
resembles the representations on the most ancient Egyp- 
tian monuments. It scarcely appears possible to ac- 
count for this except by the assumption of a universal 
recession of the more highly developed forms of natural 
life in the Nile valley from the north towards the south. 

3 2 5 



I. De tabulis Eugubinis. Diss, philologica. Berolini, 

1833- 8. 

II. Dami au vainqueur, oenochoe (oU-oxov) ä inscriptions. 

Annales de I Institut de corr. arch. 1833. V. p. 
357"3 6 3- 

III. Palaeographie als Mittel für die Sprachforschung 

zunächst am Sanskrit nachgewiesen. [Palaeog- 
raphy as a Means of Philological Research, with 
Special Reference to Sanskrit.] Berl. 1834. 8. 

IV. Über die ^püra aroix^a. i?i der Stelle bei Clemens 

Alexand?'inus über die Schrift der Aegypter. 
[On the Trpwra (TTotxeia in the Passage from Clem- 
ens Alexandrinus on the Writing of the Egyp- 
tians.] Aus d. N.- Rhein. Museum für Philolo- 
gie, 1835. Vol. IV. p. 142-148. 8. 

V. Über die Anordnung und Verwandtschaft der semit- 

ischen, indischen, altägyptischen und äthiopischen 
Alphabete. [On the Arrangement and Relation 
of the Semitic, Hindoo, ancient Egyptian and \J 
Ethiopian Alphabets.] Berlin. Abhdlg. d. Akad- 
emie 1835. 

VI. Über den Ursprung und die Verwandtschaft der 

Zahlwörter i?i der koptischen, semitische7i und in- 
dogerma?iischen Sprache. Berlin. Abhdlg. d. 
Akademie 1836. Die Abhandlungen V und VI 


zusammen sind 7ioch im selben Jahre (1836) im 
Dümmler 'sehen Verlag zu Berlin als Buch er- 
schienen. 8. [On the Origin and Relationship 
of the Numerical Words in the Coptic, Semitic, 
and Indo-Germanic Languages. Berlin, Trans- 
actions of the Academy, 1836. The two papers, 
V and VI, were published together as a book, 
in the same year, by Dümmler. J 

VI. a. Recension über Guarini's valore della cifra 
SEXS in un marmo di Pompeji. \Review of 
Guarini's valore della cifra SEXS in un marmo 
di Pompeji] Bulletino deWinst. di corresp. ar- 
cheol. N. VII. 6. 1836. p. 126-128. 

VII. Sarcofago etrusco. Bull. deWinst. di corresp. ar- 

cheol. Roma. Nr. IX e X, 1836. s. 147-49. 

VIII. Sur la valeur de la lettre % dans V alphabet etrus- 
que. Annali deWinst. archeol. 1837. Roma 
Vol. VIII. p. 164-170. 

IX. Recension von Ameth's synopsis numerorum. [Re- 

view of Arneth's Synopsis Numerorum.] Bull. 
deWinst. archeol. Roma. 1837. p. 111-112. 

X. Notizie compendiate, ibid. 1837. p. 121-127. Nr. 


XI. Monuments de Nahr el-Kelb pres Beirout, ibid. 

1837. p. I34-I35- 

XII. Observations sur un vase de fabrication Etrusque 

avec deux alphabets Grecs et sur une inscription 
de la ville Pelasgique d'Agylla. Avec 1 planche. 
Rome 1837. 8. Aus den Annali deWinst. ar- 
cheol. Roma. Vol. VIII. p. 186-203. 

XIII. Lettre a Mr. le Professeur H. Rosellini sur V al- 
phabet hieroglyphique. Avec 2 planches. Rome 

1837. 8. Aus de?i Annali deWinst. archeol. 
Rojna. 1837. Vol. IX. Archeologica egiziana y 


Primo articulo preliminario sulV alfabelo gero- 
glißco, 1837. I. p. 5-100. 

XIV. Statue di Todi. Bull. delVinst. etc. 1837. No. 
III. p. 25-28. 

XV. Notice sur deux statues Egyptiennes representant 

fune la mere du roi Ramses- Sesostris, V autre le 
roi Amasis. Avec \ planche, Rome, 1838.* 8. 
Aus de?i Annali delVinst. arch. Roma, 1837. 
Vol. IX. p. 167-176. 

XVI. Notice sur les bas-reliefs Egyptiens and Persans 
de Beirout en Syrie. Avec 1 planche, Rome, 
1838. 8. Annali delVinst. arch. 1838. Vol. X~ 
p. 12 to 19. 

XVII. Über die beiden ägyptischen Colossalstatuen der 
Sammlung Drovetti im Museimi zu Berli?i, 
[On the Two Colossal Egyptian Statues of the 
Drovetti Collection in the Museum at Berlin.] 
Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1838. 8. 

XVIII. The same paper in French in the Bulletino 
delV inst. arch. 1838. p. 37-46, under the title 
Deux statues colossales egyptiennes de la collection 
Drovetti qui se trouvent actuellement au musee 
royal de Berlin. 

XIX. Sur Vordre des colonnes-piliers en Egypte et ses 
rapports avec le second ordre egyptien et la colonne 
grecque. Avec 2 //. Rome 1838. 8. Aus den 
Annali delVinst. archeol. Roma. 1837. Vol. IL 

P . 65 ff.. 

XX. Monuments de Beirout. Annali delVinst. arch, 

Roma. 1838. p. 12-19. 
XXa. Analise des inscriptions hieroglyphique (to No. 
XV). Amiali delVi?ist. archeol. Roma. 1838. 
Vol. X. p. 103. 

* The 1838 on the title page is a misprint for 1837. 


XXI. Lettre sur /es inscriptions de la grande Pyramide 

de Gizeh, — in Sam. Birch, Eclairciss. sur le 
cercueil du Roi Mycerinus, Berlin 1839, 4. 

XXII. On the Obelisk of Philae. From The Literary 
Gazette, London. 1839. No. 11 63. 

XXIII. Bassorilievo egizio pi'esso di Smirna 1840. 
Lettera al Dottore E. Braun, Bull. delV inst. 
archeol. Roma. 1840. p. 33-39. 

XXIV. Über das Basrelief, de7i Ramses- Sesosfris dar- 
stellend. [On the Bas-relief representing Ram- 
ses-Sesostris.j Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1840. 8. 

XXV. Bericht an die Akademie d. Wissensch. zu Berlin 
über den Erfolg seiner ägyptischen Studien. [Re- 
port to the Berlin Academy of Science on the 
Results of his Egyptological Studies.] Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 1840. 8. 

XXVI. Marchi et Tessiere, L'aes grave del museo Kir- 
cheriano. Recension i. d. An?iali dell 1 inst. arch. 
Roma. 1841. p. 99-115. 

XXVII. Über die ausgedehnte Anwendung des Spitz- 
bogens in Deutschland im 10 und 11 Jahrhun- 
dert. Als Einleitimg zu der deutschen Überset- 
zung von He?iry Gally Knighfs Entwickelung 
der Architektur unter den Normannen. [On the 
Extended Application of the Pointed Arch in 
Germany in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries. 
As an Introduction to the German Translation 
of Henry Gaily Knight's Development of Ar- 
chitecture under the Normans.] Lpzg. 1841. 
gr. 8. 

XXVIII. Jnscriptiones Umbricae et Oscae quotquot adhuc 
repertae sunt omnes. Ad ectypa monumentoruni 
a se confecta edidit. Cojnmentationes . Lps. 1841. 
8. Tabulae ibid. eod. gr. Fol. 


XXIX. Über die Tyrrhenischen Pelasger in Etrurien 
und übe?' die Verbreitung des Italischen Münz- 
systems von Etrurie7i aus. [On the Tyrrhenian 
Pelasgians in Etruria, and on the Diffusion of 
the Italian System of Coins from Etruria.] 
Lpzg. 1842. 8. 

XXX. Auswahl der wichtigsten Urkunden des ägypti- 
schen Alterthums, theils zum e?sten Male, theils 
nach den Denkmälern berichtigt, herausgegeben 
und erläutert. [Selection of the Most Important 
Records of Egyptian Antiquity, Part of Which 
are Published and Explained for the First Time, 
and Part of Which are Corrected According to 
the Monuments.] 23 Tafeln, Lpzg. 1842. gr. 

XXXI. Das Todtenbuch der Aegypter ?iach dem hier- 
oglyphischen Papyrus in Turin mit einem Vor- 
wort zum ersten Male herausgegeben. [The 
Egyptian Book of the Dead, Published for the 
First Time According to the Hieroglyphic Pap- 
yrus at Turin; with a Preface. [ 79 Tafeln, 
Lpzg. 1842. 4. 

XXXII. Über den Bau der Pyramiden. [On the Con- 
struction of the Pyramids.] Perl. Mon.-Ber. 

XXXIII. Über die Entdeckung des Labyrinths in 
Aegypten. [On the Discovery of the Labyrinth 
in Egypt.] Perl. Mon.-Per. 1843. 8. 

XXXIV. Über eine?i alten JVilmesser bei Semne in Nu- 
bien. [On an old Nilometer at Semneh in 
Nubia.] Perl. Mon.-Per. 1844. 8. 

XXXV. Über Sprache?i, Denkmäler, Lnschriften und 
Civilisation der Aethiopier des Alterthums und 

jetzt. [On the Language, Monuments, Inscrip- 
tions and Civilization of the Ethiopians of An- 


tiquity and of the Present Day.] Berl. Mon.- 
Ber. 1844. 8. 

XXXVI. Letter a sul suo viaggio in Egitto. Bull, dell 7 
inst, archeol. Roma. 1845. p. 40-44. (Letter 
from Philae of the fifteenth of September, 1844.) 

XXXVII. On the Nile Alluvium of Nubia. Extract 
of a Letter from Dr. Richard Lepsius, Chief of 
the Prussian Scientific Commission in Egypt, to 
Dr. L. G. Morton, relative to the Language of 
the Bishareens of Nubia, and the Alluvial De- 
posits of the Nile. With an Analysis of those 
Deposits by Prof. W. R. Johnson : in " Pro- 
ceedings of the Academy of National Sciences 
of Philadelphia," Jan. 21. 1845. 8. 

XXXVIII. Reise von Theben nach der Halbinsel des 
Sinai vom 4 März bis 14 April, 1845. [Journey 
from Thebes to the Peninsula of Sinai, from the 
fourth of March to the fourteenth of April, 
1845.] Mit Tafeln. Berl. 1845. 8. Out of 

XXXIX. English Translation of No. XXXVIII. by 
Cottrell. London, 1846. 

XL. General Map of the Peninsula of Sinai. 1845. 

XLI. Special Map of the Ruins of the Monastery and 
City of Farän. 1845. 

XLII. Über das Felsenrelief zu Karabel. [On the 
Relief upon the Rock at Karabel.] Archäolo- 
gische Zeitung IV. 1846. p. 271-280. 

XLIIa. Über einige syntaktische Punkte der Hierogly- 
phischen Sprache. [On some Points in the Syn- 
tax of the Hieroglyphic Language.] Berl. Mon.- 
Ber. 1846. 

XLIII. Voyage dans la Presqu'' He du Sinai, etc. Lu 
a la societe de Geographie, seances du 21 Avril et 


du 21 Mai., Extrait du Bulletin de la soc. de 
geogr. Juin. 1847. Paris. 8. 

XL IV. Mittheilung über die Republication des durch 
den Stein von Rosette bekannten Priesterdekrets. 
[Communication regarding the Republication of 
the Ecclesiastical Decree promulgated on the 
Rosetta Stone.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1847. 8. 

XLIVa. Über die in Philae aufgefimdene Republication 
des Dekretes von Rosette und die ägyptischen 
Forschungen des H. de Saulcy. [On the Repub- 
lication of the Decree of Rosetta Discovered 
at Philae, and the Egyptian Researches of H. 
de Saulcy.] Ztschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenland. 
Gesellschaft. Leipzig. 1847. ß. 1. S. 264-320. 

XLIVb. Lettre de M. le Dr. R. Lepsius a M. Letronne 
sur le decret bilingite de Philes dans son rapport 
avec le decret de Rosette et sur P opinion de M. de 
Saulcy. Revue archeologique. 15. Avr. 1847. 
Annee IV. 

XLV. De?ikmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien {iiach \l 
den Zeichnungen der von Sr. Maj. gesendeten 
Expedition .... herausgegeben und erläutert.) 
[Monuments of Egypt and Ethiopia, Published 
and Illustrated after the Drawings made by the 
Expedition despatched by His Majesty.] 6 Ab- 
theil. (894 Blatt.) Berlin. 1849-59. fol. max. 

XL VI. Die Chronologie der Aegypter. Einleitung und 
Theil 1 .■ Kritik der Quelle?!. [The Chronology 
of the Egyptians. Introduction and Part 1 : 
Criticism of Authorities.] Berlin, London, Paris. 
1849. 4. 

XLVII. Über den ersten ägyptischen Götterkreis und 
seine geschichtlich-mythologische Entstehung. [On 
the First Egyptian Pantheon and its Historical- 
Mythological Origin.] Mit 4 Tafeln. Berlin. 



Abhdlg. d. Akad. 185 1 4. Als Buch bei W. 
Hertz, B er I. 185 1. 

XLVIII. Briefe aus Aegypten, Aethiopien nnd der 
Halbinsel des Sinai, geschrieben, 1 842-1 845. 
[Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia and the Penin- 
sula of Sinai, written from 1842 to 1845.] Mit 
2 Tafeln und 1 Karte. Berlin. 1852. 8. 

XLIX. Über die 12. ägyptische Königsdynastie. [On 
the Twelfth Egyptian Royal Dynasty.] Mit 3 
Tafeln. Berl. Akad. Abhdlg. 1852. 4. Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 5 Jan. 1852. 

L. Über einige Ergebnisse der ägyptischen Denk7näler 
für die Kenntnis der Ptoleniäerge schichte. [On 
some Additions to our Knowledge of the His- 
tory of the Ptolemies derived from the Egyptian 
Monuments.] Berl. Akad. Abhdlg. 1852. 4. 

LI. Bemerkungen zu dem Reisebericht von Brugsch mit 
Bezug auf das Verhältnis der neu gefundenen 
Apisdaten zu einer 25 jährigen Apisperiode. 
[Observations on the Report of the Journey of 
Brugsch, with Reference to the Relation of the 
Apis Date Lately Discovered to an Apis Period 
of 25 years.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1853. 8. 

LI a. Über de?i Apiskreis. [On the Cycle of Apis.] 
Ztschr. d. Deutschen morgenl. Gese lisch. 1853. 
Bd. VII. S. 417-436. 

LI I. Über den chro7tologischen Werth einiger astrono- 
mischen Angaben auf ägyptischen Denkmälern. 
[On the Chronological Value of some Astro- 
nomical Designs on Egyptian Monuments.] 
Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1854. 8. 

LI 1 1. Folgerungen aus Marie tte's Mittheilungen für 
die Chronologie der 26. mafiethonishen Dynastie 
und die Eroberung Aegyptens durch Cambyses. 
[Inferences from the Communications of Mari- 


ette, regarding the Chronology of the Twenty- 
Sixth Dynasty of Manetho, and the Conquest of 
Egypt by Cambyses.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1854. 8. 

LIV. Über eine hieroglyphische Inschrift am Tempel 
von Edfn {Apollinopolis Magna!) [On a hiero- 
glyphic Inscription on the Temple of Edfu, 
Apollinopolis Magna.] Mit. 6 Tafeln, Berl. Ak* 
Abhdlg. 1854. 4. B.ei Di'unmler in Berl. 1855. 

LIVa. Die ägpptischen Felsentafeln vom Nähr el-Kelb 
in Syrien. [The Egyptian Stone Tablets from 
Nahr el-Kelb in Syria.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. Juni 
1854. 8. 

LIVb. Der Artikel " Aegypten" in Hertzog's Beat 
Encyclopädie für Theologie und Kirche, (1854.) 
[The Article " Egypt " in Hertzog's Technical 
Encyclopedia of Theology and the Church,. 
1854] Bd. 1. S. 166-178. 

LV. Königliche Museen. Abtheilung der Aegyptischen 
Alterthümer. Die Wandgemälde, 37 Tafeln 
Nebst Erklärung von R. Lepsius. [Royal Mu- 
seum. Department of Egyptian Antiquities. The 
Mural Paintings. 37 Plates with an Exposition 
by R. Lepsius.] Berl. 1855. 2. Aufl. 1870. 
Fol. 3. Aufl. 1882. Quer. 4. 

LVI. Beschreibung der Wandgemälde in der ägyptischen 
Abtheilung. Heraus gegeben von der Generalve?'- 
waltung. [Description of the Mural Paintings 
in the Egyptian Department. Published by the 
General Management.] Be?'l. 1855. 4. Aufl. 
1879. 8. (No. LV. without Illustrations.) 

LVI I. Königliche Museen. Verzeichnis der ägyptischen 
Alterthümer und Gipsabgüsse von R. Lepsius. 
Herausgegeben von der Generalverzualtung. [Roy- 
al Museum. List of the Egyptian Antiquities 
and Plaster Casts by R. Lepsius. Published by 


the General Management.] Berl. 1871. 4 Aufl. 
1879. 5 Aufl. 1882. 8. 

LVIII. Über eine hieroglyphische Inschr. am Tempel 
von Edfu ( Appollinopolis Magna) in welcher der 
Besitz des Tempels an Lä?idereien (13209x5- 
Schoinia) unter der Regierimg Ptolemaeus XI. 
■ Alexander I. verzeichnet ist. [On a Hiero- 
glyphic Inscription on the Temple of Edfu 
(Apollinopolis Magna) in which are Recorded 
the Possessions of the Temple in Landed Prop- 
erty (13209^ Schoinia) under the Reign of 
Ptolemy XL, Alexander L] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 
15 März, 1855. 8. 

L VII la. Über den Namen der Ionier auf den ägypti- 
schen Denkmälern. [On the Names of the 
Ionians upon the Egyptian Monuments. | Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. Juli 1885. 8. 

LIX. Das allgejneine linguistische Alphabet. Grund- 
sätze der Übertragung fremder Schriftsysteme 
und bisher noch ungeschriebener Sprachen in 
europäische Buchstaben. Berl. 1855. 8. S.a. 
den Bericht über das allgemeine linguistische 
Alphabet. Berl. Mon.-Ber. 15. Febr. u. 20. 
December 1885. ( Typenguss imd fortschreitende 
Verbreitwig des linguistischen Alphabets). [The 
Universal Linguistic Alphabet. Principles of 
the Translation of Foreign Graphic Systems 
and Languages Hitherto Unwritten into Euro- 
pean Alphabetic Characters. Berl. 1855. 8. 
See also the Report on the Universal Linguistic 
Alphabet. Berl. Mon.-Ber. February 15, and 
Dec. 20, 1855.] (Casting of the Type and 
Increasing Diffusion of the Linguistic Alphabet.) 

LX. Über die 22. ägyptische Kö?iigsdynastie nebst einigen 
Bemerkungen zu aer 26. und andern Dynastieen 


des neuen Reichs. [On the Twenty-Second 
Egyptian Royal Dynasty, with Some Remarks 
on the Twenty-Sixth and Other Dynasties of 
the New Kingdom.] Mit 2 Tafeln, Berl. Ak. 
Abhdlg. 1856. 4. Dazu LXIa. 

LXa. No. LX Translated into English by Bell. 

LXI. Über die Götter der vier Elemente bei den Aegypt- 
ern. [On the Gods of the Four Elements Among 
the Egyptians.] Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1856. 4. 
Published as a Book by Diimmler, Berl. 1856. 

LXIa. Über die XXII. Königs-Dynastie der Aegypter. 
Mit Bemerkungen über die XXI. XXIII. und 
XXVI. Dynastie. [On the Twenty-Second 
Royal Dynasty of the Egyptians. With Re- 
marks on the Twenty-First, Twenty-Third and 
Twenty-Sixth Dynasty.] Berl. Mon.—Ber. Juni 
1856. 8. (LX.) 

LXII. Über einen falschen Palimpsest. [On a Spurious 
Palimpsest. J Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1856. 8. 

LXIII. Über den falschen Uranios des Simonides. [On 
the Spurious Uranios of Simonides.] Allgemeine 
Augsburger Zeitung vom 11. Febr. 1856. Nr. 42, 
Vossische Zeitung vom 8. Febr. 1856. Deutsche 
allg. Zeitung vom 10. Febr. 1856. 

LXIIIa. Entgegnung auf die Winndsche Abhandlung 
über die chinesische Sprache. [Reply to the 
Dissertation of Winne on the Chinese Lan- 
guage.] Berl. 20. Mai. 1856. 

LXIV. Über die manethonische Bestimmung des Um- 
fangs der ägyptischen Geschichte. [On the Limits 
set by Manetho to the Compass of Egyptian 
History.] Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1857. 4. (Dazu 
Berl. Mon.-Ber. Aug. 1857). 

LXIVa. Über die 26. ägyptische Königsdynastie u?id die 


Eroberung Aegyptens durch Kambyses. [On the 
Twenty-Sixth Royal Dynasty of Egypt and the 
Conquest of Egypt by Cambyses.] Berl. Mon — 
Ber. 1857. 8. 

LXV. Über mehrere chronologische Punkte, die mit der 
Einführung des julianischen und alexandrin- 
ischen Kalenders zusammenhängen, [On Cer- 
tain Chronological Points Connected with the 
Introduction of the Julian and Alexandrian 
Calendars.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 11. Nov. 1858.8. 

LXVa. Letter to Dr. Bell, " In Reply to the Strictures 
Contained in H. von Gumpach's Papers on the 
Reign of Menes." Transactions of the Roy. 
Soc. etc. 1858. 

LXVI. Königsbuch der alten Aegypter. Abthlg. I. 169. 
S. Text und 23 synoptische Tafeln der ägyp- 
tischen Dynastien. Abthl. II: 73 hieroglyph- 
ische Tafeln mit 987 Königschildern. [Book of 
the Kings of Ancient Egypt. Part I, 169. 
See Text and 23 Synoptic Tables of the Egyp- 
tian Dynasties. Part II, 73 Hieroglyphic 
Tablets with 987 Cartouches of Kings.] Berl. 
1858. hi. Folio. 

LXVIa. Über ei?iige Punkte der Herodotischen Chrono- 
logic [On Some Points in the Chronology of 
Herodotus. An Unpublished Lecture.] An- 
gekündigt i. d. Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1858. 8. Nicht 
zur 'Veröffentlicht ung gelangter Vortrag. 

LXV IL Über einige Berührungspunkte der ägyptischen ', 
griechischen und römischen Chronologie. [On 
Some Points of Contact in the Egyptian, 
Grecian and Roman Chronology.] Berl. Ak. 
Abhdlg. 1859. 4. (Dazu: Berl. Mon.-Ber. 
Aug. 1858. 8.) 

LXVI la. Mittheilmigen 1. über Einführung des Alex- 


andrinischen Kalenders unter Augustus, 2. über 
Wiederherstellung des zur Zeit der Ptolemäer 
aufgestellten Dionysischen Kalenders, 3. Wie- 
derherstellung des Eudoxischen Kalenders it. s.w. 
4. Wiederherstellung der Parapegmen der Aegyp- 
ter, des Demokrit u. s. w. 5, Über die Jahres— 
und Tagesbestimmung der Eroberung Ti'ojas u. s. 
w. [Communications: 1, On the Introduction 
of the Alexandrian Calendar under Augustus ; 

2. On the Restoration of the Dionysian Calen- 
dar Adopted in the Time of the Ptolemies: 

3. Restoration of the Eudoxian Calendar, etc. ; 

4. Restoration of the Parapegmen of the Egyp- 
tians, of Democritus, etc. ; 5, On Fixing the 
Year and Day of the Conquest of Troy, etc.] 
Berl. Mon.-Ber. 10. Febr. 1859. 

LXVIIb. Anzeige der Übergabe der 15 letzten Liefer- 
ungen des ägyptischen Denk??iälerwerkes, wel- 
ches die Akademie von Sr. Maj. dem Könige 
zum Geschenk erhalten hatte. [Announcement 
of the Delivery of the Last Fifteen Numbers of 
the Work on Egyptian Monuments, which the 
Academy had Received as a Gift from His 
Majesty the King.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 3. Nov. 

LXYIII. Über die Umschrift und Lautverhältnisse 
einiger hinterasiatischer Sprachen, namentlich 
des Chinesischen und des Tibetischen. [On 
the Transcription and Relations of the Sounds 
of Some Remote Asiatic Languages, Especially 
of the Chinese and the Tibetan. J Berl. Mon.- 
Ber. 16. Febr. und 5. März i860. 8. Ak. Abhdlg. 
i860. 4. 

LXIX. In gl l Jesu meslhni-lin, Margosin fäisin na- 
gittä. [The Gospel According to St. Mark 
Translated into the Nubian Language, i860. 8. 



LXX. Über die arabischen Sprachlaute und deren Um- 
schrift nebst einigen Erläuterungen über den 
harten i — Vokal in der ta?'tarischen, slav- 
ischen und der rumänischen Spi'ache. [On the 
Sounds of the Arabian Spoken Language, and 
Methods of Writing Them, With Some Com- 
ments on the Hard Vowel [ in the Tartar, 
Slavonic and Roumanian Languages.] Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 2. Mai 1861. 8. Ak. Abhdlg: 1861. 4. 

LXXI. Das ursprüngliche Zendalphabet. [The Origi- 
nal Zend Alphabet.] Mit 3 Tafeln. Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 31. März 1862. 8. Berl. Abhdlg. 
1862. 4. 

LXXIa. Was not Published, and is therefore indexed 
without title. 

LXXI I. Litterae gutturales und Lite?'ae faucales. Zeit- 
schrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung von 
Kuhn. 1862. XL. p. 442. ff. 

LXXI IL Über das Lautsystem der Persischen Keil- 
schrift. \ On the System of Sounds of the Per- 
sian Cuneiform Writing. | Berl. Mon.-Ber. 3. 
Apr. 1862. 8. Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1862. 4. 

LXXIV. Standard Alphabet for Reducing Unwritten 
Languages and Foreign Graphic Systems to a 
Uniform Orthography in European Letters. 
Second Edition. London and Berlin. 1863. 8. 
(The first edition is the work published in 1855 
in German on " The Universal Linguistic Al- 
phabet." See No. LIX. *) 

LXXV. Über den Ü7nfang und die Verschiedenheit der 
menschlichen Sprachlaute. [On the Compass and 
Differences of the Sounds in Human Speech.] 
Berl. Mon.-Ber. 1863. 8. 

* No earlier English edition of the " Standard Alphabet " can be 
found than that of 1863, and none is mentioned in Low's " English 
Catalogue of Books." 


LXXVI. Mittheilung über eine von H. Dümichen zu 
Abydos neilentdeckte Königsliste. [Communi- 
cation Concerning a List of Kings Lately Dis- 
covered at Abydos by H. Dümichen. | Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 27. Oct. 1864. 8. 

LXXVII. Die Sethostafel von Abydos. [The Tablet 
of Sethos from Abydos. j Zeitschr. für ägypt- 
ische Sprache und A Iter ihumskun de. 1864. S. 81. 

LXXVI 1 1. Texte des Todtenbuches a. d. alten Reiche. 
[Text of the Book of the Dead of the Old King- 
dom.] Zeitsch. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1864. S. 83. 

LXXIX. Die altägyptische Elle und ihre Eintheilung. 
[The Old Egyptian Ell and its Subdivisions.} 
Mit 4 Tafeln. Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1865. 4. Als 
Buch bei Diimmler. Berl. 1865. 4. 

LXXX. Über " 1'echts " und " links " im Hieroglyph- 
ischen. [On "Right" and "Left" in the Hiero- 
glyphic Language.] Zeitsch. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 
1865. S. 12. 

LXXXL Supplement to the Same. Ibid. 1865. S. 22. 

LXXXII. Über die mit den Nomenlisten verbundenen 
geographischen Nomenreihen. [On the Geo- 
graphical Series of Nomes, Connected with the 
Lists of Nomes.] Ibid. 1865. S. 38. 


LXXXIII. Über die Zeichen O, ^ und R? in den 
topographischefi Listen. [On the Signs t?> ^\) 

and rr in the Topographical Lists.] Ibid. 1865. 
S. 60. 
LXXXIV. Über die hieroglyphische Gruppe ^T als 
Orgyia von 4 Ellen oder 6 Fuss. [On the Hiero- 
glyphic Group ^^\ as an Orgyia of Four Ells 

or Six Feet.l Ibid. i86q. S. 



LXXXV. Die Regel 171 den hieroglyphischen Bruchbe- 
zeichnungen. [The Rule of the Hieroglyphic 
Fractional Reckoning.] Ibid. 1865. S. 10 1. 

LXXXVI. Al Fondatore del! Institute archeologico in 
Roma Odoardo Gerhard nel cinquantesimo anno 
delta sua laurea dottorale. (Introduction to the 
" Nuove memorie dell' inst. archeol.") Berl. 
1865. Drawn up by Lepsius, in the Name of the 
Institute and the Central Board of Directors, 
(Abeken, Lepsius, Mommsen, Haupt, Due de 
Luynes, Welcker, Kircher, Meineke and De 

LXXXVI I. Das bilingue Dekret von Kanopus in der 
Original grosse mit Übersetzung beider Texte. 
[The Original Decree of Canopus in the Origi- 
nal Size, with a Translation of Both Texts, j 
Thl. 1 mit 8 Tafeln. Berlin. 1866. fol. 

LXXXVIII. Reisebericht aus Aegypten. [Report from 
Egypt on the Journey.] Berl Mon.-Ber. 17. 
Mai 1866. 8. 

LXXXIX, Entdeckung eines bilinguen Dekretes. [Dis- 
covery of a Bilingual Decree.] Ztschr. f. äg. 
Spr. u. A. 1866. S. 29. 

XC. Das Dekret von Kanopus. Erklärung. [The 

Decree of Canopus, Explanation.] Ibid. 1866. 

S. 49. 
XCI. Über die Umschrift des Hieroglyphischen. [On 

the Transcription of the Hieroglyphic Writing.] 

Ibid. 1866. S. 73. 

XCIL Über den Obelisk i?i der Mi'mchener Glyptothek. 

I On the Obelisk in the Munich Glyptotheca.] 

Ibid. 1866. S. 95. 
XCI IL Zusatz über denselben. [Supplement to the 

Last.] Ibid. 1867. S. 20. 


XCIV. Recension übe?' i: G. F. Unger, Chronologie des 
Ma?ietho." [Review of " G. F. Unger, On the 
Chronology of Manetho."] Literarisches Cen- 
tralblatt von Zarncke. 1867. £. 1121. 

XCV. Alteste Texte des Todtenbuchs nach Sarkophagen 
des altägyptischen Reichs im Berliner Museum. 
[The Oldest Text of the Book of the Dead, Ac- 
cording to Sarcophagi of the Old Egyptian 
Kingdom in the Berlin Museum.] Berl. 1867. 

XCVL Zu dem Artikel des Herrn Baillet (de la tran- 
scription des hieroglyphes.) [Regarding the 
Article of M. Baillet, " de la transcription des 
hieroglyphes." Ztschr. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1867. 
S. 70. 

XCVIL Über den chronologischen Werth der assyr- 
ischen Eponymen und einige Berührungspunkte 
?nit der ägyptishen Chronologie. [On the Chro- 
nological Value of the Assyrian Eponyms and 
Some Points Which They Have in Common 
with the Egvptian Chronology.] Berl. Ak. 
Abhdlg. 1868. 4. 

XCVIII. Über die Anwendung des lateinischen Univer- 
sal Alphabets auf den chinesischen Dialekt von 
Canton und über die Berufung auswärtiger Ge- 
lehrter an ei?ie in Peking zu- gründende kaiserliche 
Lehranstalt. [On the Application of the Latin 
Universal Alphabet to the Chinese Dialect of 
Canton, and On *the Appointment of Foreign 
Scholars in an Imperial Institute of Learning 
to be Founded at Peking.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 
5. März 1868. 8. 

XCIX. Das Sothisdatum im Dekret von Kanopus. 
[The Sothis Date in the Decree of Canopus.] 
Ztschr. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1868. S. 36. 


C. Über eine zu Pompeji gefundene hieroglyphische In- 
schrift. [On a Hieroglyphic Inscription Found 
at Pompeii.J Ibid. 1868. S. 85. 

CI. Nachtrag zu dem Artikel von Brugsch : Über die 
vier Elemente. [Supplement to the Article by 
Brugsch " On the Four Elements.] Ibid. 1868. 

S. 12J. 

CI I. Grundplan des Grabes König Ramses' IV. i?i eitl- 
em Turiner Papyrus. [Ground plan of the Grave 
of King Ramses IV. in a Turin Papyrus.] Mit 
1 Tafel. Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1869. 4. 

CHI. Die Kalenderreform im Dekret von Kanopus. 
[The Reform of the Calendar in the Decree of 
Canopus.J Zeitschr. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1869. S. 

CIV Der letzte Kaiser in den hieroglyphischen Inschrif- 
ten. [The Last Emperor in the Hieroglyphic 
Inscriptions.] Ibid. 1870. S. 25. 

CV. Über die A?inahme eines sogenannten prähistor- 
ischen Steinalters in Aegypten. [On Admitting 
a So-called Prehistoric Age of Stone in Egypt.] 
Ibid. 1870. S. 89 u. 113. 

CVI. Über die Papyrusinschrift mit dem doppelten 
Kalender. [On the Papyrus Inscription with 
the Double Calendar.] Ibid. 1870. S. 167. 

CVII. Die Metalle in den ägyptischen Inschriften. 
[The Metals in the Egyptian Inscriptions.] 
Mit 2 Tafeln. Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1871. 4. 

CVIH. Über einige ägyptische Kunstformen und ihre 
Enhvickelung. [On Some Egyptian Forms of 
Art and Their Development.] Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 
1 87 1. 4. 

CVI 1 1 a. -Über die äthiopische?i Sprachen und Völker 
zwische7i Aegypten ', Abyssinien und den Ländern. 


der Negervölker. [On the Ethiopian Languages 

and Peoples between Egypt, Abyssinia and the 

Lands of the Negro Races.] Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 

1872, 4. 
CIX. Des Sesostris Herakles* Körperlänge. [The Length 

of the Body of the Sesostns Herakles. J Ztsckr. 

f. äg. Spr. u. A. 187 1. S. 52. 
CX. Der Bogen in der Hieroglyphik. [The Arch in 

Hieroglyphics.] ibid. 1872. £. 79. 
CXI. Kupfer und Eisen. [Copper and Iron.] ibid. 

1872. S. 113. 

CXI I. Exhibition of Portraits of Deceased Scholars 
and Artists of Berlin. Catalogue, 1873, 8. 
This Exhibition was Opened from the Twenty- 
first to the Thirtieth of March, 1873, to Aid in 
Purchasing a Lodging House for Students. 

CXI 1 1. Royal Library. An Exhibition of all Writings 
and Pictures Relating to the War of 1870-1871. 

1873, 8. Open from the Ninth of October till 
the Second of November, 1873, in the Central 
Hall of the Royal Library. 

CXIV. Vicomte E. de Rou%e. Zeitschr. f. äg. Spr. u. 
A. 1873. .S. 23. 

CXV. Hieroglyphische Inschriften in de?i Oasen von 
Xärigeh und Daxjleh. [Hieroglyphic Inscrip- 
tions in the Oases of Xärigeh and Däxileh.] 
ibid. 1874. *S. 73. 

CXVI. Trinuthis und die ägyptischen Oasen. [Trinuthis 
and the Egyptian Oases.] ibid. 1874. \S. 80. 

CXVII. Die Inschrift des nubischen Königs Silko. [The 
Inscription of the Nubian King Silko.] Berl. 
Mon.-Ber. 5. Apr. 1875. 8. 

CXVI la. Die griechische Inschrift des nubischen Königs 
Silko. [The Grecian Inscription of the Nubian 


King Silko.] Hermes. 1875. Bd. X. S. 129— 

CXVIII. Liste der hieroglyphischen Typen des Herr 71 
F. Theinhardt. [List of the Hieroglyphic Types 
of Mr. F. Theinhardt.]. Berlin. 1875. kl.' Fol. 
Auch als Beilage zu der Zeitschr. f. äg. Spr. u. 
A. 1875. 

CXIX. Vom internationalen Orientalisten- Congress in 
London. [Of the International Congress of 
Orientalists in London.] Ztschr. f. äg. Spr. u. 
A. 1875. S. 1. 

CXX. Über den Kalender des Papyrus Ebeis und die 
Geschichtlichkeit der ältesten Nachrichte?i. [On 
the Calendar of the Ebers Papyrus, and the 
Historical Value of the Oldest Accounts.] ibid. 
1875. S. 145. 

CXX I. Recension über die von G. Ebers besorgte Publi- 
cation des Papyrus Ebers. [Review of the Edi- 
tion of the Ebers Papyrus made under the super- 
vision of G. Ebers.] Literarisches Centralblatt v. 
Zar n eke. 1875. 5. 1582^ 

CXXII. Aufforderung (zu Mittheilungen vo?i Seiten 
derjenigen kleineren Museen oder Privatsanwi- 
lungen, welche sich im Besitz von Todtenpapy- 
rus befinde?!, über dieselben.) [Invitation for 
Communications, From Such Smaller Museums 
or Private Collections as are in Possession of 
Funereal Papyri, Concerning the Same.] Ztschr. 
f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1876. S. 48. 

CXX II I. Les metaux dans les inscriptions egyptiennes. 
Traduit par W. Beretid. Avec des additions de 
Vauteur. Avec 2 planches. Paris. 1877. 4. 

CXXI V. Die babylonisch-assyrische?i Längenmasse nach 
der Tafel von Senkereh. [Ihe Baby Ionian- As- 
syrian Linear Measure According to the Tablet 


of Senkereh.] Mit i Tafel. Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 

1877. 4. 

CXXV. Das Stadium und die Gradmessung des Erat- 
osthenes auf Grundlage der ägyptischen Masse. 
[The Stadium and the Measure of Degrees of 
Eratosthenes on the Basis of ■ the Egyptian 
Measures.] Zeitschr. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1877. 6*. 3. 

CXXVI, Über die widder köpft gen Götter Ammon u. 
Chnumis, in Beziehung auf die Ammonsoase und 
die gehörnten Köpfe auf griechischen Münzen. 
[On the Ram-headed Gods, Ammon and Chnu- 
mis, in Connection with the Oasis of Ammon 
and the Horned Heads on Greek Coins.] ibid. 

1878. 5. 8. 

CXXVII. Die babylonisch-assyrische Länge7imass- Tafel 
von Senkereh. [The Babylonian-Assyrian Tablet 
of Linear Measure from Senkereh.] ibid. 1877. 
S. 49. 

CXXV1IL Bine ägyptisch-aramäische Stele. [An Egyp- 
tian-Aramaic Stela.] ibid. 1877. S. 127. 

CXXIX. Weitere Erörterungen über das babylonisch- 
assyrische Bangen masssy stem. | Farther Discus- 
sions of the Babylonian -Assyrian System of 
Linear Measure.] Berl. Mon.-Ber. 6. Dec. 1877 
und 4. Febr. 1878. 8. 
\J CXXIXa. Über die Sprachgruppen der afrikanische?i \/ 

Völker. [On the Groups of Languages of the 
African Tribes.] Berl. Ak. Abhdlg. 1879. 4. 
\] CXXX. Nubische Grammatik mit einer Ei?ileiiung über 1/ 
die Völker und Sprachen Afrikas. | Nubian 
Grammar, with an Introduction on the Tribes 
and Languages of Africa.] Berl. 1880. 8. 

CXXXI. Über die Wiedereröffnung zweier ägyptischer 
.Pyramiden nach Mittheilungen von Prof Brugsch. 
[On the Reopening of Two Egyptian Pyramids, 


According to Communications from Professor 
Brugsch.] Berl. Sitzungs-Ber. 1881. 8. 

CXXXII. Bericht über den Fortgang der von E. Naville 
unternommenen Herausgabe des Thebanischen Tod- 
tenbuchs. [Report on the Progress of the Edition 
of the Theban Book of the Dead, Undertaken 
by E. Naville.] Berl. Sitzungs-Ber. 1881. 8. 

CXXXIIL Bemerkung (zu den neu geöffneten Pyra- 
miden von Saqqara.) [Observations on the 
Pyramids of Saccarah Recently Opened.] 
Ztschr.f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1881. £.15. 

CXXXIV. Die XXL. Mdnethonische Dynastie. [The 
XXI Dynasty of Manetho.J Ztschr.f. äg. Spr. 
u. A. 1882. S. 103 u. 151. 

CXXXV. Eine Sphinx. [A Sphinx.] ibid. 1882. S. 

CXXXVI. u Die ägyptische Längenmasse' 1 '' von Dörp- 
feld beleuchtet von R. Lepsius: [" The Egyp- 
tian Linear Measures " of Dörpfeld, Examined 
by R. Lepsius.] Aus den Mittheilungen des 
archäologischen Lnstituts zu Athen. 1883. VLLL. 
S. 227-245. 8. 
( Dörpfeld 's Abhandlung, gegen welche diese Streit- 
schrift sich richtet, ibid. S. 36 ff. 

CXXXVI I. Die Längenmasse der Alten. [The Lin- 
ear Measures of the Ancients.] Berl. Sitzungs- 
Ber. 1883. 8. 

CXXXVIII. Über die Lage von Pithom (Succoth) u. 
Raemses (Heroonpolis.) [On the site of Pithom 
(Succoth) and Raemses (Heroonpolis).] Ztschr. 
f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1883. S. 41. 

CXXXIX. Über die Masse im Felsengrabe Ramses' LK 
[On the Measures in the Rock Tomb of Ramses 
IV. J Ztschr. f. äg. Spr. u. A. 1884. S. 1. 


CXL. Über die 6 palmige grosse Elle von 7 kleinen 
Palmen- Länge, in dem " Mathematischen Hand- 
buche " von Eisenlohr. [On the Great Ell of Six 
Palms, the Length of Seven Small Palms, in the 
" Mathematical Handbook " of Eisenlohr.] ibid. 
1884. S. 6. 

CXLL Die Längenmasse der Alten. [The Linear 
Measures of the Ancients,] Berlin. W. Hertz. 

CXLII. Der Artikel "Aegypten" in Brockhaus" Con- 
versations-Lexicon. [The Article " Egypt " in 
the " Conversations- Lexicon " of Brockhaus. 1 

THE BRIDE OF THE NILE, a Romance, by 
G-eorg Ebers, from the German by Clara Bell. Au- 
thorized edition, in two volumes. Price, paper covers, $i .00, 
cloth binding, $1,75 per set. 

" This romance has much value, apart from its interest as a 
narrative. The learned author, who has made the Land of the 
Nile an object of special study and research, throws a clear, 
steady light on one of those complicated periods of history when 
nationality seems submerged in the conflicting interests of sects 
and factions. The history of Egypt towards the middle of the 
seventh century, A. D., forms a sort of historical whirlpool. The 
tide of Moslem invasion and the counter-current of patriotism 
were temporarily swayed by the intermingling currents of sectar- 
ianism, ecclesiasticism and individual self-interest. 

"All the leading characters are typical of these contending 
forces, and also display an unreasoning impulsiveness in both 
love and hatred, characteristic of a tropical clime. 

"The Egyptian heathen, the Egyptian Christian, the Greek 
Christian, the Moslem and Ethiopian show the feelings peculiar 
to their political conditions by word and act, thus making their 
relationship to one another very distinct, and though not an his- 
torical study, at least a study of the probabilities of that epoch. 
It is also a reliable picture of the manners, customs and civiliza- 
tion of a period less generally known than those remote, and 
consequently more attractive periods of the building of the pyra- 
mids, and of the Pharoahs. 

" The portrayal of individual character and arrangement of 
incidents are necessarily secondary to the higher aims of this en- 
tertaining and instructive romance. It is only towards the end 
of the second volume that the significance of the title becomes 
apparent. The ' Bride ' was a Greek Christian doomed by the 
superstitious authorities to be drowned in the Nile as a sacrifice 
to appease the anger of the creative powers, supposed to be with- 
holding the usual overflow of its waters. She escaped her watery 
fate, and her rival, an unprincipled heiress, became a voluntary 
sacrifice through vanity and despair. This author has already 
won much renown by previous romances founded on interesting 
epochs of Egyptian history. — Daily Alta, California. 

William S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York. 

WAR AND PEACE. A Historical Novel, by Count Leon 

Tolstoi', translated into French by a Russian Lady and from the 

French by Clara Bell. Authorized Edition. Complete, Three 

Parts in Box. Paper, $3.00. Cloth, $5. 2$. 

Parti. Before Tilsit, 1805 — 1807, in two volumes. Paper, $1.00. 

Cloth, $1.75 per set. 

tl II. The Invasion, 1807 — 1812 in two volumes. Paper, $1.00. 

Cloth, $1.75 per set. 
"HI. Borodino, The French at Moscow — Epilogue, 1812 — 1820, 
in two volumes. Paper, $1.00. Cloth, $1.75 per set. 


"A story of Russia in the time of Napoleon's wars. It is a 
story of the family rather than of the field, and is charming in its 
delineations of quaint Russian customs. It is a novel of absorb- 
ing interest, full of action and with a well managed plot; a 
book well worth reading." — Philadelphia Enquirer. 

"The story of 'War and Peace' ranks as the greatest of 
Slavic historical novels. It is intensely dramatic in places and 
the battle scenes are marvels of picturesque description. At 
other points the vein is quiet and philosophical, and the reader 
is held by the soothing charm that is in complete contrast with 
the action and energy of battle." — Observer, Utica, JV. Y. 

"War and Peace is a historical novel and is extremely inter- 
esting, not only in its description of the times of the great inva- 
sion eighty years ago, but in its vivid pictures of life and character 
in Russia." — Journal of Commerce, New York. 

"On general principles the historical novel is neither valua- 
ble as fact nor entertaining as fiction. But ' War and Peace' is 
a striking exception to this rule. It deals with the most impres- 
sive and dramatic period of European history. It reproduces a 
living panorama of scene, and actors, and circumstance idealized 
into the intense and artistic life of imaginative composition, and 
written with a brilliancy of style and epigrammatic play of 
thought, a depth of significance, that render the story one of 
the most fascinating and absorbing. " — Boston Evening Traveller, 

Wm. S. Gottsberger, Publisher, New York, 





" It is hard to understand some judgments that have been passed 
t)n Count Tolstoi's ' Katia,' recently done into English, to the effect 
that it is an unsatisfactory work of the great author. In one sense a 
morceaa, it cannot indeed be compared for a moment with those 
vast works of his genius which make so profound an impression 
wherever they are read, but the little tale has the Tolstoi flavor and 
atmosphere, and the story of a woman who becomes careless as to 
her husband's love, and longing for it again finds that it can never 
be hers in the sense that it had once been, is told with the directness. 
the touching simplicity and the power which are not to be found 
combined in the work of any other writer still living in discovered 
countries." — The Boston Post. 

Price, Paper Cover, 25 cts. Cloth Binding, 50 cts. 







Price, Paper cover, 60 cts. Cloth binding, $1.00. 

W&i. S. Gottsberger, Publislier, New York. 


Perez Escrich, from the Spanish by Adele Josephine 
Godoy, in two volumes. Price, paper covers, $1.00. Cloth 
binding, $1.75. 

"There must always be some difference of opinion concern- 
ing the right of the romancer to treat of sacred events and to in- 
troduce sacred personages into his story. Some hold that any attempt 
to embody an idea of our Saviour's character, experiences, sayings 
and teachings in the form of fiction must have the effect of lower- 
ing our imaginative ideal, and rendering trivial and common-place 
that which in the real Gospel is spontaneous, inspired and sublime. 
But to others an historical novel like the ' Martyr of Golgotha' 
comes like a revelation, opening fresh vistas of thought, filling out 
blanks and making clear what had hitherto been vague and unsat- 
isfactory, quickening insight and sympathy, and actually heighten- 
ing the conception of divine traits. The author gives also a wide 
survey of the general history ot the epoch and shows the various 
shaping causes which were influencing the rise and development 
of the new religion in Palestine. There is, indeed, an astonishing 
vitality and movement throughout the work, and, elaborate though 
the plot is, with all varieties and all contrasts of people and con- 
ditions, with constant shiftings of the scene, the story yet moves, 
and moves the interest of the reader too, along the rapid current 
of events towards the powerful culmination. The writer uses the 
Catholic traditions, and in many points interprets the story in a 
way which differs altogether from that familiar to Protestants : for 
example, making Mary Magdalen the same Mary who was the 
sister of Lazarus and Martha, and who sat listening at the Saviour's 
feet. . But in general, although there is a free use made of Catho- 
lic legends and traditions, their effort is natural and pleasing. The 
romance shows a degree of a southern fervor which is foreign to 
English habit, but the flowery, poetic style — although it at first 
repels the reader — is so individual, so much a part of the author, 
that it is .soon accepted as the naive expression of a mind kindled 
and carried away by its subject, Spanish literature has of late 
given us a variety of novels and romances, all of which are in their 
way so good that we must believe that there is a new generation of 
writers in Spain who are discarding the worn-out forms and tra- 
ditions, and are putting fresh life and energy into works which 
will give pleasure to the whole world of readers." — Philadelphia 
American, March 5, 1887. 

William S. Gottsbcrger, Publisher, New York. 



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